Work camps are self-contained sites, providing occupancy for up to 12 low risk prisoners and Queensland Correctional Services (QCS) supervisors to create a volunteer labour force.
The proposed construction of the work camp on Nass Road, Charlton will seek to have minimal impact on the community and on the pricing of surrounding property. Charlton would expect an overhaul, with those residing in the work camp undertaking general maintenance tasks.
Throughout 2014-2015 work camps contributed approximately 156,000 hours to regional communities, valued at over $3.5M. Community advisory committees will be able to assess priorities for community projects to be undertaken by work camp occupants. Community advisory committees are open for Council representatives, police, local business owners, community groups, local residents and work camp field supervisors.
QCS ensures that only low-level classified risk offenders will be eligible for the opportunity to reside in the work camp and will be assessed for placement before given a place. All behaviour would be closely monitored and under QCS' zero tolerance policy, poor prisoner behaviour or any suspected risk to the safety of the community or members of the work camp will result in the offenders being returned to a secure centre.
To date, 34 letters have been delivered to local neighbourhoods, 16 emails sent between households and the project manager, 25 meet and greets have been held to provide further information and 28 phone calls made to develop a level of confidence around the project. The project itself has been discussed at 5 QCS board meetings to enhance community engagement and increase support for the project. The overall support of the project has been overwhelming, with 79% of voters being supportive of the work camp, 13% of voters remaining neutral and and only 9 stakeholders providing no feedback on the matter.
Following the investigation into work camps, Council supports working with QCS to develop a low-custody work camp in Charlton and will submit a development application for the proposal, subject to Council’s normal planning approvals processes.
Council is bound by the Sustainable Planning Act, 2009 (SPA) which assures that planning decisions are made through transparent processes and decisions are made in the public interest. The SPA process is mandated by the State Government and specifies how development applications are assessed. All development applications are subject to the same rigorous assessment processes.
- The development application for approval of the project will be submitted in December 2016/January 2017.
- Public notifications and responses will be received in March/April 2017.
- Final decision to be made May/June 2017.
- If approved - proposed commencement of work camp construction to start in September 2017, with construction continuing until January 2018.