A new 160-bed unit at Bunbury Regional Prison has been officially opened today by Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan marking the first build under the McGowan Labor Government’s $310 million investment in prison overcrowding.
The $23.7 million unit provides much-needed relief for the State’s overcrowded prison estate, which was a direct result of the previous Liberal National Government’s failure to act on a booming prisoner population.
The new unit has involved 25 South-West contractors, provided employment to an estimated 847 local people and supported the development of an estimated 48 apprentices.
It will provide prisoners from the South-West, who are housed at other jails, with the opportunity to be closer to their family and local community to help with rehabilitative efforts.
The McGowan Labor Government is investing more than $300 million in adding 1,228 new beds to Western Australia’s prison estate across a variety of new innovative prison units.
It is expected that by the end of this year, there will be two new 128-bed units at Casuarina Prison on existing prison grounds.
By the middle of next year, another two new 128-bed units will house WA’s first alcohol and other drug treatment prison for men and a proposed mental health facility.
By early 2023, there will be another 344 maximum security beds added to Casuarina Prison, which will also provide more options for managing elderly prisoners and others with special needs.
As stated by Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan:
“We had to act on the inherited overcrowded prisons crisis almost as soon as the McGowan Labor Government was elected and I am very pleased that we are now seeing the physical results of that hard work.
“This new 160-bed unit at Bunbury Regional Prison not only helps deal with the overcrowded prisons legacy, but it has provided significant employment to local people in the South-West and helped with the development of an estimated 48 apprentices.
“This project was one of the first under the McGowan Government’s Western Australian Industry Participation Strategy to help increase local jobs and local content, and it has been a great success.
“I believe that 25 South-West sub-contractors, an estimated 847 local workers from the South-West and throughout WA as well as about 48 apprentices have benefited from this project at this stage.
“This new unit is just the first part of the McGowan Government’s innovative $310 million build project that is bringing 1,228 new beds into Western Australia’s prison estate.
“By building on existing prison land, it means we are providing much-needed relief to address the previous Liberal National Government’s overcrowded prisons legacy in a much faster and cheaper way than trying to build a new prison.
“But we are also focusing on rehabilitation with a new alcohol and other drug treatment prison for men and a proposed mental health facility as part of the new builds at Casuarina.”