Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt says he has received reports that the LNP Government is planning on selling the Innisfail Work Camp as part of their plan to privatise Queensland’s prisons including Lotus Glen Prison near Mareeba.

“Minimum security prisoners from Lotus Glen Prison at the Innisfail Work Camp undertake maintenance of local parks, sporting grounds and community areas for the Cassowary Coast Regional Council,” Mr Pitt said.

“If the LNP Government sell-off the Innisfail Work Camp, ratepayers of the Cassowary Coast Region will have to foot the bill for this community work which was previously being completed by the prisoners, and local community and sporting organisations will not have the money or workers to do the job themselves.

“Prisoners at this work camp are involved in the maintenance of grounds for junior cricketers at Goondi Bend, assist the Pease Park Management Committee, and work on Sundays at the Innisfail Community Garden.

“They’ve also pressure-cleaned tennis courts, been involved in graffiti removal, cemetery maintenance, and helped to set up marquees and equipment at community events.

“The Innisfail Work Camp has always been a strong contributor to the Innisfail community, and I’m sure the Cassowary Coast Regional Council would not support the loss of this camp and its workers to our region.

“The LNP Government needs to be up front with the people of Innisfail and the Cassowary Coast about whether or not the camp is being sold off.”

Mr Pitt said the Innisfail Work Camp prisoners were also heavily involved in helping clean-up the Cassowary Coast area following Cyclone Yasi and Larry.

“The Innisfail Work Camp was initially a temporary camp to assist the local community following Cyclone Larry and later became a permanent camp,” he said.

“While undertaking this work, prisoners learn valuable skills including preparation, planning and maintenance of projects.

“The work camp’s contribution to this community is a great example of how prisoners can give something positive back to the community as part of their rehabilitation, with the aim of helping the transition of prisoners nearing the end of their sentences back into society.

“In the past, offenders at the Innisfail Work Camp had completed 16,000 hours of community service work a year. In February this year alone, prisoners have contributed in excess of 900 hours across the Cassowary Coast Region.

“It costs around $200 per prisoner per day in jail – more than $70,000 a year for each prisoner – and the cost of operating this boot camp pales in comparison, plus the community benefits from the many thousands of hours of work provided.”