Corrections Minister Gayle Tierney was in Ararat on Friday to visit the site where work will soon start on a controversial new 20-bed secure facility at Hopkins Correctional Centre.
The new building, expected to open next year, will become home to sex offenders and violent criminals who have completed their term in prison but are still considered to be a risk to the community.
“This is part of our commitment in relation to the implementation of the Harper review,” Ms Tierney said.
“The project is fully funded and it is a milestone to see the land almost ready to be built on.”
She stated the move was not a response to abscondments from Corella Place, but a part of Harper review reforms, which will seek to see those at risk to the community have significant change to their behaviour while in the facilities.
Ms Tierney said the government would work on setting up a new authority that would oversee implementation of Harper recommendations as well as an advisory panel and a new facility for the most violent offenders will be built within the walls of the Barwon Prison.
Ararat Rural City Council mayor Paul Hooper has said the project would benefit both Ararat and the surrounding community.
“It’s a fantastic announcement. Fifty full time jobs for community in Hopkins precinct. Ararat understand corrections,” Cr Hooper has said.
“It’s a reflection of the excellent work and standard of this undertaking here 52 weeks of the year.”
“This new facility is a walled facility. This is what people are calling for, that the community is kept safe while these offenders are being rehabilitated. The Ararat community for almost our entire history has been good at managing offenders and helping people to be rehabilitated. This has been a significant industry of our town. We’re skilled at it. This is what we do well in Ararat,” resident Fr Andrew Hayes said.