The Palaszczuk Government today announced the decision to transfer Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre and Southern Queensland Correctional Centre from private to public control.
In July last year, the government announced it suspended the tender processes for the two privately operated prisons pending government consideration of the Crime and Corruption Commission’s Taskforce Flaxton Final Report.
One of the government’s concerns was the number of assaults on staff occurring in privately run prisons.
This was also one of the issues raised during Taskforce Flaxton’s investigation.
Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services Mark Ryan said the decision to transfer the prisons to public operation would have multiple benefits.
“The government is of the view that the transfer to public operation will lead to improved staff safety.
“Importantly, this decision aligns government policy with issues arising from Taskforce Flaxton.
“The Taskforce observed that Queensland’s hybrid prisons system, with its mix of private and public operational responsibility, was not optimal.
“The government believes by providing QCS with full operational and day-to-day management control of all prisons and all employees, the transition will strengthen corruption resistance in Queensland prisons and improve overall integrity.
“Planning is already underway, and there will be extensive consultation with the private providers, staffing groups, industrial representatives and service providers to ensure the delivery of safe and secure prison services during the transition,” Minister Ryan said.
Staff at the privately run prisons will be given priority to take up positions in the newly transitioned correctional centres, subject to the usual vetting procedures.
Under the public operating model there will be more prison staff.
This will lead to greater staff safety.
It will cost an extra $111m over four years but the government takes the view that this investment is in the public interest.