The NSW Opposition has slammed Corrections Minister Anoulack Chanthivong for his decision to hand over control of Junee Correctional Facility to the heavily unionised Corrective Services NSW.
Mr Chanthivong was grilled over the move during a Budget Estimates hearing today.
Shadow Minister for Corrections Mark Taylor said the Minister needs to come clean on his back door union deal that will result in a $15 million hit to the Budget.
“GEO Group has successfully managed the Junee Correctional Centre for over 30 years, as evidenced by the latest extension to their current contract,” Mr Taylor said.
“Junee Correctional Centre is one of the major employers in the Riverina region, where staff live and work locally.”
“Their extended families are well established in local schools, sporting clubs, or working in local businesses. These families will be torn apart as they are replaced by unionised staff from Sydney with no local community connection.”
“The Minister has not even visited Junee Correctional Centre. It’s like the Minister is wearing a Public Services Association issued ankle bracelet, and every time it buzzes, he rings the PSA head office for instructions.”
“It’s understandable people right across our State are saying they have voter remorse. The Minns Labor Government promises one thing before the election and does the exact opposite after.”
“There is a pattern here of looking after your mates rather than the community. In this case, people will lose their jobs, union officials win, and the NSW Community will pay.”
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said that the decision is looking murkier by the day.
“Either the Minister is not across his brief, or he was deliberately avoiding questions around the government’s decision to take over the running of the Junee Correctional Centre,” Ms Cooke said.
“The Minster was unable to provide any credible rationale for the decision, and instead hid behind technical jargon to justify what appears to be a highly dubious move from this government.
“By his own admission, the Minister failed to consult the community about his decision, hasn’t even visited the Junee Correctional Centre and failed to commit to come to Junee and speak face-to-face with those that are impacted directly on the ground,” Ms Cooke said.
“When pressed on whether there would be any job losses, the Minister again danced around the question, which as a local member, concerns me greatly.”
“The Minister acknowledged the financial contributions the current operator GEO Group has provided to the Junee community over the years, but was unable to guarantee that the government would be able to provide a similar level of support going forward.”
“This is simply not good enough. The Minister must come out of hiding, clear his diary, and make every effort to get to Junee as soon as possible, front up and provide the vital answers the community deserves.”