Brendan Ray

Gulaptis: new minister will be 'amenable' to jail reopen

NEW Minister for Corrective Services David Elliott can expect a letter calling for Grafton Jail to be reopened to be dropped into his parliamentary pigeonhole any day now.

Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis has vowed push for the prison, now only used as a remand centre, to again take on inmates to deal with overcrowding.

"I haven't spoken to (Mr Elliott) yet as he's only just been appointed, but it's high on my radar," he said.

"I've served on a committee with him, and I'm sure he will be amenable to the idea, as was the last minister.

"It was just a question of which prison was suitable at the time, and the decision was made to open up Kirkconnell (near Bathurst) ahead of Grafton."

Mr Gulaptis said prisoner numbers had hit a critical mass and it was only a matter of time before Grafton Jail reopened.

In his new role as Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast, he said fighting unemployment was one of his greatest motivations.

About 100 jobs were lost when the jail closed in 2012.

When quizzed on why the government replaced a ministerial role with the North Coast Parliamentary Secretary position, Mr Gulaptis said it was about better representation - not punishment for big swings against the Coalition.

"It's simply to provide a dedicated role to look after a region," he said.

"There was never any minister designated solely to the North Coast. They always had additional responsibilities."

-APN NEWSDESK


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