Work to provide new cells to house more than 616 prisoners will begin shortly, with the signing of a $41 million contract to manufacture 460 prefabricated steel modular cells for five Victorian prison sites.
About 20 local manufacturing jobs will be created under the contract with Modular Building Systems Pty Ltd, with work on plumbing, electrical, furniture and fixtures undertaken in the Melbourne suburb of Campbellfield.
The cell manufacturing is the first stage of a $791 million program to expand the capacity of five Victorian prisons, announced in the 2019-20 Victorian Budget, to provide prisons with flexibility to meet future needs.
Once cell manufacturing is complete, Victorian businesses and workers will be involved in an extensive construction program, building cell accommodation blocks and a range of supporting infrastructure.
These projects will be a major generator of local jobs and economic activity, especially for Lara (Barwon Prison and Marngoneet Correctional Centre), Castlemaine (Middleton Prison), Ararat (Hopkins Correctional Centre) and Melbourne’s western suburbs (Metropolitan Remand Centre).
At least 10 per cent of this work will be done by apprentices, trainees and cadets, with at least $600,000 of work going to Aboriginal businesses and staff.
Construction across the five sites is expected to be completed by mid-2023, as part of a project delivered by the Community Safety Building Authority within the Department of Justice and Community Safety.
Barwon Prison will be the first to have the new cells installed, expanding its capacity to accommodate a total of 640 prisoners by late 2022.
Supporting infrastructure for the additional beds at Barwon will include a visitor centre, light industries building and men’s shed. The existing programs and medical building will also be expanded and refurbished, and internal fencing will be built.
Across the Victorian prison system, 1600 new beds will become available as part of the 2019-20 Victorian Budget’s $1.8 billion investment to meet future demand and deliver programs to break the cycle of reoffending and keep people out of prison.
The correctional facilities being expanded and upgraded comprise Hopkins Correctional Centre in Ararat, Middleton Prison in Castlemaine, Barwon Prison and Marngoneet Correctional Centre in Lara and the Metropolitan Remand Centre in Ravenhall.