The Clarence Correctional Centre at Lavadia south of Grafton is expected to house its first inmates by mid 2020.
The Minister for Corrective Services, Anthony Roberts toured the $700 million jail precinct’s recently completed minimum security wing for male inmates yesterday.
The prison, a public-private partnership (PPP) is due to be run by the UK based giant services provider SERCO.
Mr Roberts says the 1700-bed facility is a much sought after asset. The state government estimates the prison will inject more than $500 million into the local economy over the next 20 years.
“This is the sort of powerhouse I’ve got to say communities around the state call out for because the jobs are not just for this generation, but because of the flow on effect of jobs for future generations ” Mr Roberts said.
SERCO is proposing to run an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center in Corindi in the Coffs Harbour local government area as part of this prison.
However residents of the Corindi community have grabbed the attention of powerful new allies in their bid to stop what they’ve called a “free-range jail” in the heart of their small town.
Greens MP David Shoebridge, Page MP Kevin Hogan, Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh, and Coffs Harbour City councillors Tegan Swan and John Arkan have now all thrown their support behind the action group.
The residents, banning together as the Corindi Residents Action Group, are opposing the plan by SERCO to run an alcohol and drug correctional centre claiming having the centre 300m from a school meant it was in the wrong place and that it amounted to a “free range jail”.
A meeting of approximately 350 residents and the politicians named above attended a meeting in Corindi in early June (see picture below) which saw only five of those present vote in favour of the rehab centre to be known as ‘Home Strait.’