Port Lincoln staff protest jail privatisation

Port Lincoln prison staff protested on Monday after the state government announced in last weeks budget that they would privatise a South Australian jail.

At about 11.30am the SA Public Service Association (PSA) organised rally reached Member for Flinders Peter Treloar’s office where they began to chant ‘shame’.

The prison industry’s concerns lie with the privatisation of the maximum-security prison, Adelaide Remand Centre, that is used to hold prisoners in custody pending trial.

The government estimates the Remand Centres privatisation will save the government $2.6 million, before increasing to $10 million by 2022.

SA Member of Legislative Council, Russell Wortley labeled the budget “unfair” and said the Port Lincoln prison was a significant part of the local economy and that if it were privatised it would effect the entire community.

“It’s up in the air,” he said.

“Are they going to close it?”

Some protesters walked into Mr Treloar’s office when it became apparent he was not joining them for the rally.

MLC Wortley said MP Treloar had previously agreed to join the protesters for a barbecue.

“Come out and face people, it shows a certain amount of disregard to the electorate,” he said.

Mr Treloar said he was happy to speak with a couple of PSA members and MLC Wortley after the rally. 

”I, in fact, joined them for a sausage and listened to their concerns,” he said.

All state run prisons were in lock down on Monday, with a minimum level of staffing provided across SA prisons and Port Lincoln.

In addition to the privatisation of the Remand Centre, the government promised to expand the Yatala Labour Prison and Adelaide Women’s Prison with an additional 310 beds at a cost of $170 million over the next four years.