New Eastern Goldfields Prison now in jeopardy thanks to new budget cuts

The future of the planned new Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison is now in jeopardy as a result of the Barnett Government’s announcement this week of funding cuts to the Department of Corrective Services.

“The prison system faces funding cuts of 2% this year and further cuts of 3% over coming years putting the Western Australian community further at risk,” says WA Prison Officers’ Union Secretary John Welch.

Yesterday’s announcement included news there will be a deferral of spending on a range of capital works projects across government, putting further in doubt plans to build a new prison facility in the Eastern Goldfields and much-needed upgrades at other facilities around the state.

“Almost three years since the Barnett Government announced a new prison for the Eastern Goldfields not one brick has been laid in the construction of the promised facility.

“Despite the then Corrective Services’ Minister Christian Porter admitting in 2009 that a replacement was needed for the “existing significantly overcrowded Goldfields prison” the State Government has failed to address the chronic prison overcrowding in the region.”

“The current Eastern Goldfields facility is overflowing with 141 prisoners in a facility designed to hold 100,” Mr Welch said.

“For three years now the State Government has been talking about addressing the overcrowding in the prison system but all they’ve done is talk and now with these latest cuts there may be no new prison at all.

“The reality is that over those three years they have done little or nothing to address the problem.”

“If the State Government wants to be tough on law and order it must match its talk with increased investment in prisons and reduced risks for prison officers.”

“The Goldfields region needs another prison and needs it now. The Barnett Government must come clean on whether they’ve broken yet another promise made to Goldfields residents,” said Mr Welch.

Media interviews: Stephen Dawson on 0419 045200