Plans to reopen Parramatta Jail have been scrapped.
Corrective services minister David Elliott considered reopening the jail to address record numbers of inmates and prison overcrowding but announced last week that it will remain closed.
He told Parramatta MP Geoff Lee that reopening the jail would “not value of money for taxpayers.”
“It’s an excellent decision for the community,” an “elated” Dr Lee told the Sun.
“The development and refurbishment of the heritage precinct would have been slowed down otherwise. The new community that will living near there don’t want to be living next to a jail.”
Dr Lee campaigned for the jail to stay closed. “We’re growing the city into a cosmopolitan and world class city,” he said. “We can’t have a jail in the middle of a transforming city.”
Deerubbin Aboriginal Land Council has claimed ownership of the site.
“It was be fantastic if it could be transformed into an arts and cultural precinct,” Dr Lee said. “But it’s up to Deerubbin Aboriginal Land Council as to what they want to do with the site. As a government, we can’t tell them what to do.”
North Parramatta Residents Action Group described the decision as economic vandalism. “The government’s surrender to developer lobby groups by deciding not to reopen Parramatta Jail for low security inmates is disappointing proof of who is really running the government,” president Suzette Meade said.
“It also would have used an asset that will now remain unused for a long time.”