Prison shift just a ‘dodgy swap'

THE QUEENSLAND OPPOSITION has labelled transferring prisoners from the Borallon Correctional Centre (pictured) to the new prison near Gatton as ‘dodgy’. PHOTO: The Queensland Times
THE QUEENSLAND OPPOSITION has labelled transferring prisoners from the Borallon Correctional Centre (pictured) to the new prison near Gatton as ‘dodgy’. PHOTO: The Queensland Times

IN WHAT has been labelled a “dodgy prison swap deal”, the Queensland Opposition has referred the issue of transferring Borallon prisoners to the new prison near Gatton to the auditor-general.

The opposition claims the Federal Government has confirmed plans to convert the Borallon jail at Ipswich into a detention centre, with a final decision yet to be announced.

LNP Corrective Services spokesman John-Paul Langbroek said the moth-balling of Borallon prison and the awarding of the contract to run the Southern Queensland Correctional Centre at Spring Creek lacked any transparency.

“It appears to be done without any proper tendering process,” Mr Langbroek said.

“The people of Queensland and particularly the residents of Ipswich need answers about what’s happening to the Borallon Prison and Bligh Labor’s plans to lease the centre to the Federal Government to use as an immigration detention centre.”

Mr Langbroek said the way the “secret deal” between Serco, who currently run the prison at Borallon, and the State Government had been handled raised many questions.

“Under the normal tendering for service process, the contract for service delivery at the new Gatton prison should have been advertised and put to the market to ensure the best value for money was achieved,” he said.

“This matter deserves due consideration and that’s why I have written to the auditor-general seeking advice on whether this deal is legal and meets the State Government’s own rules and guidelines.”

Corrective Services Minister Neil Roberts said the Queensland Audit Office (QAO) was consulted regarding a plan to transfer the contract to run Borallon Correctional Centre to the new Southern Queensland Correctional Centre.

“In fact, the advice I have been provided is that the QAO was consulted about the proposal before negotiations between Queensland Corrective Services and Serco commenced,” Mr Roberts said.

Borallon Correctional Centre near Ipswich will be temporarily decommissioned early next year as part of a modernisation strategy for the state’s correctional facilities.

Mr Roberts hit back at more scaremongering from the LNP on claims that an immigration detention centre will be established at Borallon.

“As has been publicly stated many times now, the State Government has had discussions with the Federal Government about the possible development of an additional immigration centre in Queensland,” Mr Roberts said.

“However, there is no agreement and no decisions made on this issue.”

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