Cooke calls on Corrections Minister to Come Out of Hiding

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke says Corrections Minister Anoulack Chanthivong has serious questions to answer over the Government’s shock decision to take over the running of the Junee Correctional Centre.

Ms Cooke said the Minister’s failure to provide critical responses to Opposition questioning during a Budget Estimates hearing today, is deeply concerning.

“This decision is looking murkier by the day; either the Minister is not across his brief, or he was deliberately avoiding questions around the NSW Labor Government’s decision to take over the running of the Junee Correctional Centre,” Ms Cooke said.

“The Minster was unable to provide any credible rationale for the decision, and instead hid behind technical jargon to justify what appears to be a highly dubious move from this Government.

“By his own admission, the Minister failed to consult the community about his decision, and made no firm commitments to come to Junee and speak face-to-face with those that are impacted directly on the ground.

“In contrast, the Minister freely admitted to meeting with the union, multiple times, and refused to deny that he spoke with the Public Service Association about the Junee facility.

“When pressed on whether there would be any job losses, the Minister again danced around the question, which as a local member, concerns me greatly.

“The Minister acknowledged the financial contributions the current operator GEO Group has provided to the Junee community over the years, but was unable to guarantee that the government would be able to provide a similar level of support going forward.

“This is simply not good enough. The Minister must come out of hiding, clear his diary, and make every effort to get to Junee as soon as possible, to front-up and provide the vital answers the community deserves,” she said.

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