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Better Prisons means more beds for inmates and more jobs for locals

Issued: Monday, 25 July 2016

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Almost 900 jobs will be created in the Hunter region during and after construction of the Cessnock Correctional Centre expansion. 

Corrective Services NSW is undertaking building scoping work at the prison north of Sydney and is considering the construction of three new facilities that could provide beds for 1,000 inmates. The facilities would be built within the existing boundaries of the current prison. 

CSNSW Commissioner Peter Severin said the proposed works were part of the NSW Government's $3.8 billion Prison Bed Capacity Program, announced in June, which would create an additional 7,000 beds across the state. 

"The proposed expansion of this centre will not only help ease the prisoner population challenge, but will also make a significant contribution to the local area," the Commissioner said. 

"Cessnock Correctional Centre already employs more than 300 local staff and this new announcement would see more jobs created, including 450 during construction and 430 when complete. 

"The centre is dedicated to keeping the community safe and reducing reoffending through education and vocational training, and we will continue to keep this as our priority as it expands." 

CSNSW is encouraging the community to provide their feedback on the projects under consideration, which includes 1,000 new beds as well as: 

  • A Corrective Services Industries building with kitchen, classrooms and laundry;

  • An inmate reception building within the existing centre;

  • Playing fields and multipurpose courts;

  • 500 additional staff and visitor parking spaces; and

  • A modified road layout and new main entrance to connect Lindsay Street with the main gatehouse and minimise traffic impacts on the local area.

The centre currently houses 800 minimum- and maximum-security inmates, who are employed and trained onsite in a variety of jobs, including engineering and food services.  

Corrective Services Minister David Elliott said stronger policing and tougher bail laws had led to more criminals being behind bars. 

"The NSW Government has committed $3.8 billion over the next four years to addressing the increased prison population," Mr Elliott said. 

"It will boost prison capacity across the state by about 7,000 beds in the long term, with funding for more than 2,800 additional beds to meet the current demand. 

"These new beds will support our Better Prisons program to lift standards, stengthen accountability and help meet the government's target to reduce adult reoffending by five per cent."

CSNSW aims to next month begin preparatory works in accordance with the State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007 and undertaken in stages to minimise any impact on the existing centre's operations. 

In determining the proposals, the NSW Department of Justice is required to consider environmental impacts in accordance with the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979. The potential environmental impacts will be documented in a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) that is being prepared.  

The community's feedback will be included in the REF, which will also address: 

  • Social and economic impacts;

  • Amenity;

  • Traffic;

  • Geotechnical information, stormwater and waste management;

  • Environmental impacts; and

  • Aboriginal heritage.

The consultation period is open until Monday 8 August and the community are invited to send their feedback to: 

Cessnock Correctional Centre

C/ - JBA Urban Development Consultants 

173 Sussex Street, Sydney NSW 2000 

Feedback is also welcomed via email to cessnockcorrectionalcentre@jbaurban.com.au and by calling 1800 743 436.


Image of the Cessnock correctional centre