The Community Advisory Group set up to oversee community consultation for a new secure facility in Ararat will meet for the first time tonight.
The group will be chaired by former Ararat Rural City Council Mayor, Bill Jones and includes current Mayor, Paul Hooper, local residents and business owners, as well as senior members of Victoria Police and Corrections Victoria.
Ararat locals will also get the chance to join the group with Corrections Victoria to advertise for members over the coming days.
The facility, to be located next to Hopkins Corrections Centre, will house sex offenders and violent offenders deemed by the courts to be unsuitable to be released into the community after completing their prison sentence.
It is part of the Andrews Labor Government’s response to the Harper Review into the post-sentence management of serious offenders, which was released last year.
Corrections Victoria is already the biggest employer in the Ararat region and this project will create up to 100 jobs during construction, which will begin in the second half of the year.
A further 50 ongoing jobs will be created when the secure facility opens by the end of 2018. The Community Advisory Group will meet regularly to ensure the local community is kept informed during planning and construction and has an opportunity to provide feedback.
The group will also be a forum for discussions about the operation of Hopkins and Corella Place.
The Harper Review was undertaken following the tragic murder of 17-year-old Masa Vukotic.
All 35 of the review’s recommendations have been delivered or are in the process of being implemented, with the full suite of vital reforms to be completed by 2018.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Corrections Gayle Tierney
“It’s important the Ararat community has its voice heard – and this advisory group will ensure residents, businesses and other community leaders are consulted every stage of the way.”
“Tonight’s meeting is a key milestone for the new secure facility, as we count down to construction later this year and the opening in 2018.”
Quotes attributable to Ararat Correctional Facilities Community Advisory Group Chair Bill Jones
“The Community Advisory Group represents a broad range of community interests in Ararat including residents, business owners, the local council and law enforcement.”
“The new facility will create new jobs and contribute to the local economy, so it is vital that the people of Ararat have input into its design and operation.”