Concern over jail jobs
UNCERTAINTY over the new Grafton jail and the end of large infrastructure projects in the region dominated discussion at the second Grafton meet the candidates session.
After community members raised concerns over the number of jobs the jail would bring, candidates differed on how big they believed the economic benefit would be.
Greens candidate Greg Clancy said after spending many years fighting big infrastructure projects, he would not be surprised if the number of jobs predicted was much larger than those that actually materialised.
Pointing to her time at the council, independent candidate Debrah Novak said she had a good understanding of the project's benefits, including those to primary producers in the area.
"There are going to be 2000 people that need to be fed three times a day for 20 years," she said.
"One in four businesses in the Clarence Valley is a primary producer and the two commercial kitchens in the jail will provide an opportunity for our agri-food economy."
Despite being opposed to privatised prisons, Country Labor candidate Trent Gilbert understood the concern and said he wanted to ensure Grafton derived the maximum benefit possible from the jail.
"This is the problem with privatised prisons, we may have concerns in the lead-up but the things won't become clear until closer to the opening," he said.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Steve Cansdell was more upbeat, saying there would be benefits regardless of the predictions but, if elected, he would work hard to ensure Grafton got the most out of the project.
"I'm going to be an optimist. This is good for town," he said.
"The new jail is going to be a big plus for the local area.
"They have been putting money into the community, so if there are 500 jobs instead of 650 jobs it is still a good win."
Who will you vote for in the seat of Clarence at the 2019 NSW Election?
This poll ended on 22 March 2019.
STEVE CANSDELL - Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
GREG CLANCY - Greens
TRENT GILBERT - Labor
CHRIS GULAPTIS - Nationals
THOM KOTIS - Sustainable Australia
DEBRAH NOVAK - Independent
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.