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Wellington Local News:
Pressure Remains On Won Wron

Mayor and Council CEO to press the case for the retention of Won Wron Prison

By Karen Gregory - 18th June 2002 - Back to News

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Wellington Mayor Malcolm Hole and Council CEO Lyndon Webb will meet Acting Correctional Services Minister Dennis Roach next week to press the case for the retention of Won Wron Prison.

Council is determined to keep the pressure on the State Government to retain Won Wron, one of the most efficient prisons in Victoria.

Mayor Hole and Mr Webb will see the Acting Commissioner prior to meeting Corrections Minister Andre Haermeyer in a few weeks time.

"The community can rest assured that Council will continue to pressure the Government to keep this facility operating, particularly as the Minister has so far refused to alter his decision on its closure," said the Mayor.

"Thereís no doubt that if Won Wron is closed, the loss of jobs and loss of economic benefit to the community will be significant.

"The business study undertaken by the State Government to expose replacement employment prospects has failed to target any serious opportunity to absorb the job loss we shall experience if Won Wron closes.

"Council is concerned that the Government is not taking into consideration the fact that here in Wellington we have one of the most cost effective and efficient prisons in Victoria. All Won Wron needs is maintenance and refurbishment and the Government will retain a facility that it can proudly call one of the best in the State.

"Itís up to Council and the community to make sure that we leave no opportunity unexplored for retention of this facility."

Mayor Hole said the undertaking by the Minister not to close Won Wron until there were sufficient beds in the prison system to eliminate the overcrowding problem presented the opportunity to make a strong case for retaining the facility.

"The very fact that closure of Won Wron has been postponed to December 2004 at the earliest Ė until new prisons resolve the overcrowding issue - would seem to indicate that there is a need to keep this prison in the system," he said.

"There is overcrowding at most levels and, as such, it may be possible to argue the case that the prison should continue to operate as a white collar detention centre or specialist facility.

"We also have to consider that Victoria faces a State election between now and December 2004. An incoming Government, or revamped Cabinet, may be prepared to take a fresh look at the situation.

"It is up to the community and Council to keep the pressure on and make sure that Won Wron remains on the discussion table.


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