Work Begins on Victoria’s Newest Prison

Work has begun on the new Ravenhall Prison Project – Victoria’s newest prison for 1000 offenders.

The project summary for the men’s medium-security prison was tabled in Parliament today. The contract was signed by the former government in September 2014.

The prison will create 700 jobs at its construction peak and 600 ongoing jobs once it is completed in late 2017.

In today’s money, or net present cost, the Ravenhall prison will cost $2.5 billion over 25 years – including $668.6 million in capital costs and $1.6 billion in total operating costs.

The tabling of the project summary comes as the Andrews Labor Government fixes a $120 million black hole in the prison system that was left by the former Liberal Government when it announced 357 temporary beds to cope with the growth in the prison system but only paid for them up to the end of this financial year.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Corrections Wade Noonan

“The Andrews Labor Government has inherited a prison system under stress. Thanks to the previous Liberal Government, our crime rate has gone up and more offenders are returning to prison.’’

“Given the forecast surge in prisoner numbers, we will need this prison. An extra 1200 offenders have entered the prison system in just the past two years.’’

“The Andrews Labor Government will keep the community safe and fulfil our statutory obligations without cutting funding to schools, hospitals and TAFEs.”

Key facts

  • The total nominal undiscounted cost of construction and operations, including the cost of mental health services, is $6.3 billion over the 25-year life of the project.
  • Victoria’s recidivism rate is 39.5 per cent and is likely to go higher.
  • The corrections budget grew under the former government from $600 million to $1.1 billion in five years. This has outstripped spending growth in every other government area, including education and health.
  • Ravenhall Prison will be built 20km west of Melbourne on government-owned land near the Metropolitan Remand Centre and Dame Phyllis Frost Centre. It will house 1000 prisoners but can expand to 1300.
  • In a Victorian-first, Ravenhall prison operators GEO Consortium will get a cash payment of up to $2 million in any one year if they reduce recidivism at the prison by 12 per cent in that year, compared with the overall prison system. The target is 14 per cent for indigenous prisoners.