Two major prison expansions will help deliver as many as 750 permanent jobs to regional Queensland this financial year as part of the government’s sweeping reform of the criminal justice system.
Queensland is witnessing a once in a generation change that will create jobs, create a safer working environment for Correctional staff, greatly ease pressure on the prison system’s capacity and provide a significant and permanent boost to regional economies.
Minister for Corrective Services, Mark Ryan, said the Government’s investment to deliver Stage 2 of the Southern Queensland Correctional Precinct near Gatton is significant.
“This is a watershed moment for Queensland Corrective Services.
“This will involve building a brand new stand-alone facility at the precinct.
“The Stage 2 correctional facility will deliver about 1000 beds for male prisoners by 2023, helping to address overcrowding across the correctional system and improving the safety of correctional officers and prisoners.
“With 445 construction jobs over the three-year build and the likelihood of 500 permanent jobs or more, as well as ongoing opportunities for local businesses to supply goods and services, this is great news for the Lockyer Valley.
“It’s about investing in regional jobs today and for the future, it’s about supporting regional Queensland businesses and it’s about delivering regional infrastructure and services for our growing state.
“It also means safer, less crowded, more effective prisons Statewide which will help deliver on reducing recidivism and keeping our communities safe,” he said.
“The planning has already commenced for this prison to be a modern, evidence-based correctional facility which will support safer communities through enhanced mental health, drug and alcohol rehabilitation services, with a focus on addressing the ice epidemic and its link to violence and property crime.
“Rockhampton will also benefit, with $142.954M over four years to fund the extra 232 jobs needed to operate the expanded Capricornia Correctional Centre with $43.718M ongoing funding for the positions.
“Once construction is complete on the projects, the Palaszczuk Government will have delivered more than 4000 extra prison beds since being elected in 2015.
“Additionally, officer safety will be boosted statewide with extra funding of $14.480M in 2019-20 to provide for increased staffing levels to reflect prisoner numbers.
“These measures are a part of the most significant reform of corrections in a generation, including the Government’s response to Taskforce Flaxton and the decision to transfer Queensland’s two privately-operated prisons to public operation in a world-first push to improve community safety and reduce recidivism.
“Transferring these prisons to the publicly run system will have a significant impact on the safety of Corrective Services staff.
“It will mean a better staff to prisoner ratio with the advantages that brings.
“Make no mistake, these are historic reforms that will support regional economies, benefit Corrective Services staff with a safer workplace, and deliver much greater capacity to our prison network,” Minister Ryan said.
Other measures include:
- $22.100M over four years for minor capital works including:
o Woodford Correctional Centre Intercom upgrade
o The lock replacement program
o Refurbishment of the Princess Alexandra Hospital Secure Unit
o Brisbane Correctional Centre laundry upgrade.
- $2.862M and 8 FTE to continue providing improved service delivery for prisoners with a disability or mental illness.
- $2.541M over four years and $0.646M ongoing and three FTE to continue the successful Aurukun Prisoner Reintegration Program.
- $1.183M in 2019-20 for the Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence initiative and an additional $1M in 2019-20 for the continuation and evaluation of the Opioid Substitution Treatment Program.