Backlash at plans to privatise QLD state-owned prisons
THERE has been a backlash to plans unveiled showing the State Government embarked on a secret plan to privatise all Queensland prisons.
Member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne and the Together Union , the union that represents public sector workers, hit out at the plans revealed in by a southern media outlet this morning.
The media outlet stated senior government sources have confirmed that Department of Community Safety Director-General Kelvin Anderson has established a special task force to examine the feasibility of the plan.
The proposal is aimed at saving money, with privately managed prisons reportedly proving 10% cheaper to operate on average than public prisons, mainly because of the staffing ratios - meaning fewer staff per prisoner.
There are two prisons in Queensland currently run by private companies - the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre run by GEO Group and the South East Queensland Correctional Centre at Gatton, run by Serco Australia.
Shadow Corrective Services spokesman Bill Byrne says the LNP government's plans to privatise prisons including the Capricornia Correctional Centre breaks the Premier's promise in December of "no more job cuts".
"The first impact of privatisation will be job cuts, it is that simple," Mr Byrne said.
"This is yet another blow for regional Queensland and the numerous communities where prison staff live, work, raise families, and spend their money."
He said in August last year when asked about privatisation of prisons the Police and Community Safety Minister, Jack Dempsey, had clearly stated: "We have no plans for privatisation. None." (Brisbane Times 16 August 2012)
"This sentiment was repeated by the Minister at the Budget Estimates Hearings, so he needs to explain his backflip," Mr Byrne said.
The union of public sector workers is consulting members at Rockhampton about the Newman government's secret plans to privatise Queensland's correctional facilities.
"This is just more lies and deceit from the Newman government and we are consulting our members," Together organiser Ashleigh Saunders said.
"Can you really put a price on the safety of our Rockhampton community?"
"The Newman government's move to privatise prisons is sheer stupidity," Together Secretary Alex Scott said today.
"This is yet another betrayal that would cause further job losses at Rockhampton and compromise public safety.
"The primary driver of the private sector is profit, it's not about the rehabilitation of prisoners and not about keeping the community safe."
The state's network of government-owned prisons was heavily regionalised with facilities in:
- Far North Queensland (Lotus Glen Correctional Centre)
- Central Queensland (Capricornia CC)
- Fraser Coast (Maryborough CC)
- North Queensland (Townsville CC)
- South East Queensland (Woodford CC; Palen Creek CC near Beaudesert; Numinbah CC in the Gold Coast Hinterland
Brisbane-Ipswich corridor (Brisbane CCC; Brisbane Women's CCC; Wolston CC)