10 February, 2021

Work is set to start on a major construction project in Lara, with a $133 million contract signed to expand the capacity of Barwon Prison by 196 beds.

The project is expected to create 140 jobs during construction, with targeted investment in local employment, social enterprises and jobs for disadvantaged Victorians as part of the government’s contract with construction firm Hansen Yuncken.

Construction will start in November, with the new maximum-security beds expected to be operational in late 2022, enabling the prison to accommodate up to 706 prisoners in total.

As well as the cell accommodation blocks, a visitor centre, light industries building and men’s shed will be constructed at Barwon. The existing programs and medical building will also be expanded and refurbished, and internal fencing will be built.

"The project is expected to create 140 jobs during construction with the new maximum-security beds expected to be operational in late 2022."

The expansion is part of the government’s $1.8 billion investment in the 2019-20 Budget to provide flexible prison capacity, deliver programs to break the cycle of reoffending and keep people out of prison.

Barwon Prison will be the first site in a $791 million program to expand the capacity of five Victorian prisons, generating local jobs and economic activity across four regions:

  •     Lara (Barwon Prison and Marngoneet Correctional Centre)
  •     Castlemaine (Middleton Prison)
  •     Ararat (Hopkins Correctional Centre)
  •     Ravenhall (Metropolitan Remand Centre).

A further 20 jobs are being created in the Melbourne suburb of Campbellfield, with work starting in recent weeks on plumbing, electrical, furniture and fixtures for 460 prefabricated cells for the five Victorian prison sites.

Construction across the five sites is expected to be completed in 2023, as part of a program delivered by the Community Safety Building Authority within the Department of Justice and Community Safety.


Barwon Prison, a high risk and maximum security prison for males, is located 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the township of Lara, near Geelong, Victoria, Australia.