Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt says staff at Lotus Glen Correctional Centre near Mareeba are increasingly concerned about their jobs following the shock closure of the Darling Downs Correctional Centre earlier this week.

Mr Pitt today met with staff at Lotus Glen who were concerned the Newman Government’s axe may fall on frontline jobs at other jails including Lotus Glen.

“I met with about 50 staff at Lotus Glen today who expressed their objections to the sudden closure, with no previous consultation, of the Darling Downs facility,” Mr Pitt said.

“Many staff are angry and disappointed at the lack of consultation of the Darling Downs closure and more broken promises from this Government.

“There’s a suggestion that Darling Downs staff first heard news of the closure not from the government, but from prisoners who were being transferred out.

“The closure of the Darling Downs Centre flies in the face of the Newman Government’s promise that no frontline staff and services will be affected and has left staff at Lotus Glen uncertain about their own future.”

Mr Pitt said the Newman Government was making conflicting policy statements that left people no clearer as to what was happening.

“The LNP is talking tough on crime yet they close a jail at a time when watch house numbers are on the increase.

“This follows the Newman Government’s announcement that they will mothball 192 brand new cells at Lotus Glen, part of the $442 million dollar extension to the prison.

“The Premier and Corrective Services Minister Jack Dempsey need to provide certainty to the employees at Lotus Glen today,” he said.

Mr Pitt says Mr Newman clearly had no idea or simply did not care how important centres like Lotus Glen were to the local economy.

“Along with the local jobs working at Lotus Glen directly provides to the community, the Correctional Centre also has broader reaching economic benefits to local agricultural and small businesses that provide goods and services to the centre,” he said.

“The Newman Government has already flagged that they don’t want to employ the extra staff required to open the 192 new cells at Lotus Glen, which will lead to overcrowding and risk staff safety.

“Now the government need to reassure those already employed they are not facing the next fell of the Newman axe,” he said.