Confusion has arisen over the responsibility for the development of a low-custody prison work camp.
Confusion has arisen over the responsibility for the development of a low-custody prison work camp.

Council, department point fingers over prison work camp

CONFUSION between two levels of government has developed over an upcoming low-risk prisoner work camp approved for land west of Toowoomba.

The controversial work camp at Nass Rd in Charlton, designed to house 12 workers, was approved by the Toowoomba Regional Council in April last year before a lease agreement between the TRC and Queensland Corrective Services was reached in March.

However, neither party has confirmed it was taking the lead on the project's construction and development.

 

Toowoomba Regional Council plans to build a detention facility work camp on land at Nass Rd in Charlton.
Toowoomba Regional Council plans to build a detention facility work camp on land at Nass Rd in Charlton. Contributed

In fact, both the council and the department told The Chronicle responsibility was with the other side.

A QCS spokesman said the work camp would be developed in line with the TRC's capital works program.

"The establishment of the work camp will now progress in line with other capital works projects planned by the council," he said in a statement.

"The timing of these projects is a matter for the council."

Toowoomba Regional Council plans to build a detention facility work camp on land at Nass Rd in Charlton.
Toowoomba Regional Council plans to build a detention facility work camp on land at Nass Rd in Charlton. Contributed

This was contradictory to reports out of council, which suggested the department was the driving force for the project and controlled the timelines.

The council and Crs Geoff McDonald and Joe Ramia were contacted for official comment and clarification over timelines and project responsibility.

The council was listed as the applicant for both the initial 2017 development proposal and the February application to start bulk earthworks at the Nass Rd site, which will also be home to the upcoming council depot.

The project earned a significant backlash from surrounding neighbours, who were concerned about risks to safety.

Speaking for the opposing residents at the April 2018 special meeting, Bron Loughlin said councillors were not listening to what she said were clear safety concerns for neighbouring properties and businesses.

"We're just gutted. We're really disappointed - we feel the council hasn't listened to our concerns at all," she said after the meeting.

Cr Anne Glasheen said at the time the TRC was satisfied with the project's viability.

Puppies graduate from prison program: A group of clever puppies have thrown off their graduation gowns and caps and will now head off to a new life helping children with disabilities.
Puppies graduate from prison program: A group of clever puppies have thrown off their graduation gowns and caps and will now head off to a new life helping children with disabilities.