Youth justice system

Minister’s Statement

I rise to inform the house about the progress of the government’s new youth justice centre and how our investment is supporting Victorian industry and putting local jobs first. I am pleased to advise the house that construction firm John Holland will be responsible for building the new state-of-the-art and highly secure youth justice facility at Cherry Creek. John Holland, which has previously built other custodial facilities, will drive the design, construction, commission and completion of the $288 million centre, which will house 224 beds for young people on remand or sentenced to custody, a mental health unit, an intensive supervision unit and other services.

Work has already commenced on pre-design and master planning with expert architecture and design firm HDR. The project is expected to create between 2000 and 3000 direct and indirect construction and related jobs and will maximise the use of locally milled steel. Through the Labor government’s Local Jobs First policy it will be required to use at least 90 per cent local content, with apprentices, trainees and engineering cadets making up at least 10 per cent of the total labour hours. The new youth justice centre will bring about 450 ongoing jobs to the area, with a range of roles available, including custodial and administration staff, psychologists, teachers, cleaners, gardeners and facility managers.

The new centre is just one part of the Labor government’s plan to rebuild Victoria’s youth justice system for a safer community. To date we have provided over $1 billion to our youth justice system. After four years of neglect and cuts under the Liberals, we are getting on with this vital project to keep staff and the community safe. I note that the Liberal-led parliamentary inquiry into youth justice centres in Victoria did not make a single recommendation on current or future youth justice infrastructure and facilities. We are getting on with implementing the recommendations from our own commissioned inquiries. We know that the Liberals ignored the advice of the Victorian Ombudsman in 2010, shelved their master plan for Parkville and built a gingerbread house of a facility at Malmsbury, and cut staff.