Grafton prison officers walk off job over privitisation fears

PRISON officers at Grafton jail in northern NSW have walked off the job over fears the correctional centre may be privatised.

About 150 workers at a rally in central Grafton are calling on Corrective Services Minister John Robertson to reassure officers it won’t be put in private hands.

The NSW government has announced plans to privatise the Hunter Valley’s Cessnock prison, and Parklea jail in Sydney, but the Public Service Association (PSA) said indications were that Grafton would be next.

The PSA said Corrective Services Commissioner Ron Woodham admitted as much at a parliamentary inquiry into the privatisation of prisons last Month.

Asked if Grafton could be privatised, Mr Woodham told that inquiry that: “Grafton could be, in the future”.

PSA general secretary Steve Turner said those comments had caused alarm for prison officers in Grafton and the local community.

“The Grafton community is understandably angry that the commissioner has revealed plans to hand over the prison to private companies to run for a profit,” Mr Turner said.

“Today’s rally will send a clear message to the government that Grafton doesn’t want a private prison.”

Along with prison officers, local nurses, police officers and other community groups will take part in the rally.



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