Labor pledges to save local jobs by re-opening Grafton Gaol
NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson has announced a State Labor Government would re-open Grafton Gaol to keep jobs and support small businesses in the region during a visit to the picket line today.
Mr Robertson has spent much of the past 24 hours on the picket line alongside members of the Grafton community, fighting the O'Farrell Stoner Government's disgraceful decision to sack 108 workers and shut down the prison.
"If elected, a State Labor Government will re-open Grafton Gaol," Mr Robertson said today.
"Grafton Gaol is a vital part of the local economy and is the reason for many families and businesses remaining in the region.
"Unlike the Liberals and Nationals, Labor recognises that the loss of 108 jobs from Grafton would be nothing short of a disaster for the region.
"These jobs inject up to $29 million into the local economy. When you remove this sort of investment from the Clarence, the flow on impacts will be disastrous.
"These job losses will be devastating not just for the workers and their families directly affected, but for other small businesses and subcontractors who rely on the gaol and its workers.
"I've been amazed and overwhelmed by the strength and support shown by the Grafton community in the fight to save their gaol.
"Even at midnight last night, there were workers here on the picket line, along with lifelong Grafton residents from the local nursing home. The community spirit behind this fight is truly remarkable.
"It is incredibly disappointing that neither the Premier Barry O'Farrell, nor the Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner have taken the time to meet with these people first hand and hear their point of view.
"Since I arrived yesterday afternoon I have met with the workers, the Chamber of Commerce, local business owners - and they are all horrified at the devastating flow on effects the closure will have throughout the community.
"A NSW Labor Government would re-open the Grafton Gaol because we understand how important it is for local jobs and local businesses.
"Everyone from the local café to the petrol station owner to the baker will be affected by these cuts.
"Let's not forget that only a few months ago, Mr O'Farrell, Mr Stoner and Mr Gulaptis were standing in Grafton promising there would be no job cuts or closure at Grafton Gaol.
"What we are seeing is a huge broken promise to the people of Grafton and the Clarence.
"There is no doubt that Chris Gulaptis has let his community down.
"The hypocrisy of Mr Gulaptis has been breathtaking. After spending a week defending the decision to sack 108 workers, he has only changed his tune because of the public backlash."
Tags: Andrew Stoner, Barry O'Farrell, businesses, Chris Gulaptis, Clarence, Grafton, Grafton Goal, jobs, John Robertson, liberals, nationals, NSW labor