Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward MP has today welcomed the NSW Government’s decision to rule out Kembla Grange as a potential location for a new correctional facility following detailed site investigations and consultation with the community.
The NSW Minister for Corrections David Elliott said that Corrective Services NSW carried out extensive feasibility studies, which considered environment constraints, operational needs and the social impacts of any proposed prison.
“Following six months of detailed investigations and consultation, we have ruled out the site at Kembla Grange. Today’s announcement provides certainty for landholders in the area, as well as current and future residents of Kembla Grange,” Mr Elliott said.
“I thank Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward for his work and providing me with full and frank advice on this issue.”
Studies commissioned by Corrective Services NSW found that while roughly half the land at Kembla Grange is suitable for development, the site lacks a single block of adequate space for a prison facility, making it too expensive to build on.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward said that thorough site investigations and community consultation was a vital part of the assessment process.
“I would like to thank Ami and Stephen Beck and the No Dapto Committee on their diligent work and strong advocacy,” he said.
“More than 300 members of the Illawarra community provided feedback on the proposal, assisting Corrective Services NSW to identify potential constraints,” Mr Ward said.
“Residents can be confident that we have done our homework and made the right decision for the Illawarra and NSW by ensuring any potential new prison will provide value-for-money for taxpayers.
“Not only have we listened to the community but we have looked at the facts in relation to site constraints, and the considerable cost that would have been borne in constructing this facility on this site.
“The Former Labor Government also considered this site and they also rejected this particular location.
“I would like to thank my Opposition colleagues and friends Ryan Park, Paul Scully and Shadow Minister Guy Zangari. They have participated in this debate in a rational and sensible manner.
“For me, I am always serious about listening to our community and I am pleased the process has now concluded and that all parties now have certainty,” Mr Ward said.
Wollongong City Councillor Cameron Walters welcomed the decision and said: “I welcome the NSW Government’s decision today. I am delighted that they have taken all feedback on board from local residents and I believe that the majority of residents have been heard,” he said.
“This now gives certainty to the largest growth area in the Illawarra and now we can get on with making other improvements.
“I thank the Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra who has been at the forefront of listening to feedback from the community and was the only Member of Parliament to be at all of the community consultations which were hosted by Corrective Services NSW.
“I’m very pleased that the Parliamentary Secretary has secured the right outcome for our community,” Clr Walters said.