Today’s announcement by the NSW Government that consultation will commence shortly on a major new correctional facility in the Illawarra should be seen as a potential win for the regional economy.

Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director, Adam Zarth, said that the business community looked forward to receiving further information and welcomed the opportunity for community views to be heard.

“Prisons contribute to regional economies as both a major employer of local people and a significant purchaser of local goods and services,” said Mr Zarth.

“We expect Illawarra businesses to benefit will include the construction sector as well as service providers such as laundry, catering, cleaning and a variety of other services once the facility is operational.

“Competition between regions for these kinds of facilities is fierce, which is why we should consider this proposal seriously and ensure that the final outcome has the community's support.

“It is also important that the selected location takes into account the surrounding land use and the opportunity cost of using valuable industrial land for other purposes.

“With pockets of high unemployment in sections of the Illawarra, this project would also provide an opportunity to secure hundreds of local jobs.

“In Grafton for example, a new 1700 bed facility will inject $560 million into the local economy creating 1100 jobs during construction and 600 permanent positions once operational.”