WAPOU challenges government to come clean about the details of the contract with Serco

WAPOU Secretary John Welch called for the government to release the details of its contract with Serco for the provision of privatised Prison services at Rangeview facility.

He said that recent revelations that Serco intended to fulfil its contract to provide maintenance at the hospital by using prisoners from the new Rangeview Prison were deeply disturbing.

“It is hard to believe that this has been allowed to happen – it is clear that Serco’s need to make a profit has over-ruled any safety or moral considerations.”

“This has not happened in any other hospital in the State, and for good reason. Serco is simply using its prisoners as cheap labour, and public safety will be the loser.”

“Sources within the Corrective Services Department are obviously concerned enough to make this information public. Minister Redman needs to take advantage of the opportunity to release to the public the details of the contract with Serco, not bury his head in the sand and pretend this is acceptable.”

Mr Welch said that residents near the prison had already been misled once about the facility.

“The original proposal for the prison – the one given to residents - was for it to hold 80 prisoners between 18 and 22 with no history of violent offending,” Mr Welch said.

“But because it was impossible to find 80 prisoners in this category, it will now hold some violent offenders to ensure SERCO can make a profit on the deal.”

“We understand the local community were given undertakings about the nature of the prisoners held at this facility. It is clear that the government have fundamentally changed who will be held at this facility without community consultation and that should be a matter for public concern”

“The Minister has said in parliament that there was vigorous assessment of private provision against a public provision of the service. If that is so, why does he release this information to the public? What is he hiding?”

“This is the danger of privatising key public infrastructure like prisons and hospitals without adequate transparency.”

“The Government needs to take responsibility for this issue – they may be able to outsource contracts, but they can not outsource their responsibility for the provision of prison services and their accountability to the public.”

Media interviews: John Welch 0400 220 667, Rebeka Marton 0403 428 935