Community interest ignored in Grafton
The State Government has blithely ignored a groundswell of community opposition to its closure of Grafton Gaol and in the process, proven itself out of touch with public sentiment, Unions NSW said today.
At 4am this morning, riot squad police were called in as corrective services buses began transporting prisoners out of the gaol, ignoring a community picket with more than 100 protestors.
Unions NSW Secretary, Mark Lennon described the Government's disregard for community feeling as appalling.
"Despite a constant community picket and two protests attracting thousands of people, the O'Farrell Government has blithely ignored the views of the people of Grafton," Mr Lennon said.
"The Premier and the Deputy Premier will not even answer questions from journalists on this issue, let alone the community.
"These job losses will decimate this community. For a town like Grafton, the removal of 108 regular paycheques will devastate local businesses and families. Nationals leader, Andrew Stoner needs to explain why he is allowing the Liberals to get away with this."
Mr Lennon paid tribute to those in the Grafton community who had rallied to stop the cut backs.
"Particular mention needs to be made of Clarence Valley Community Unions for their role in activating community sentiment," Mr Lennon said.
"Local unionists including Tony King and Sharryn Usher have done a tremendous job, and in the process provided a model for other regional communities in how to stand up for their interests when the political process is letting them down."