- Largest prison expansion in Victoria’s history
- Victorian Coalition Government cleaning up after failed Labor project
- Coalition Government protecting Victorians and planning for the future
The Ararat Prison Project is about to reach a major milestone with Premier Denis Napthine today joining Minister for Corrections Edward O’Donohue to inspect the first new prisoner beds which are set to be introduced to the network in coming days.
Dr Napthine said 60 of the 350 additional beds that form Ararat’s Hopkins Correctional Facility expansion would be complete and housing prisoners by the end of the month with the remaining beds to be rolled out throughout the year.
“This is another project Labor botched and the Coalition Government rescued. We have done so in partnership with the Ararat community and I thank them for their hard work and cooperation,” Dr Napthine said.
“Opening this new 60-bed Canton unit is an important step in delivering this project, it is also an important step in continuing to fulfill our commitment to keep the Victorian community safe.
“This project will almost double the facility’s capacity from 388 beds to 738 beds, and will address the significant demand for beds in the prison system while generating jobs and investment in and around Ararat.
“On any given day, as many as 600 construction workers are onsite working on this project and, as a result, Ararat is booming.
“With 150 new ongoing jobs created as part of the Hopkins expansion alone, Victoria’s growing prison system is not only supporting safer communities but is delivering jobs and investment across Victoria, especially in regional areas.
“The employment program at Hopkins was already well under way, with 19 officers graduating just before Christmas and a new squad of recruits commencing training this month.
“The Department of Justice will also advertise early this year for an additional 50 staff to support the expanded prison,” Dr Napthine said.
The Canton unit will house prisoners in six or seven-bed cottages. Each cottage has its own catering facilities and are intended for older prisoners with health and mobility issues.
The unit will be supervised from its own officers’ post and is connected to the existing prison’s security systems.
Mr O’Donohue said the Coalition Government’s record expansion of the male prison system had delivered 791 new beds since January 2011 with more than 2450 new beds set to open by late 2017.
“The Coalition Government is building new permanent beds and expanding existing prison facilities as quickly as possible to address the immediate and future requirements of our corrections system,” Mr O’Donohue said.
“Victoria’s prison staff play a critical role in keeping the community safe and we are currently undertaking a major recruitment drive to support the prison expansion program and the extra temporary beds.
The construction on the Hopkins Correctional Centre expansion is contracted for completion by the end of this year.
Major expansions are also being delivered at Marngoneet, the Metropolitan Remand Centre, Dhurringile, Loddon and Langi Kal Kal prisons, with extra beds also added at other prisons across Victoria.