A new ‘Made in Prison’ row?

p2309-prisons-LambleyBy ERWIN CHLANDA

 

The debate about prison industries – essentially their value for rehabilitation and the public purse as against undesirable competition for private enterprise – seems to be getting a new lease of life.

 

Independent MLA for Araluen Robyn Lambley (pictured) is taking issue with the range of goods and services the Alice prison – with 648 inmates yet built for around 350 – is currently providing for sale.

 

Chairing this morning’s hearing of the Public Accounts Committee, Ms Lambley was told by Tim Cross, Director of Correctional Industries, that the only example of possible competition were 150 hot dog rolls provided on Fridays to the Desert Dogs Food Truck.

 

He offered to have a look at the issue but said it may well be that that the turnover of $240 a month has slipped under the radar of the Correctional Industries Advisory Council, which is keeping a sharp eye on issues of unfair competition against local businesses and has representatives from community and commerce.

 

Ms Lambley disagreed, citing from a surprisingly long list (published here) of manufactured items provided by Corrections, claiming that a lot of things the jail makes are also available from local industry.

 

Above all, Ms Lambley asked what does “local” mean? Alice Springs? Darwin? The Territory?

 

There are “big gaping holes” in that definition, according the “many people” she has spoken to.

 

While she “applauds” the training provided to inmates, the government should not be “moving into the private space, taking away jobs in our community”.

 

The policy is mostly driven by complaints, admitted the Corrections officers quizzed by the committee.

 

In October 2013 the Andy McNeill room was bursting with angry local entrepreneurs over an issue of bread being baked for sale in the prison.

 

But when the correctional chiefs called the next six-monthly scheduled meeting, a mere 12 people turned up, and none of them dissented from what the prison was doing.

 

No-one at all turned up for the meeting after that.

 

That isn’t a reliable indicator of the public mood, countered Ms Lambley.

 

She said people are afraid to “compromise” themselves in the government tender system. It’s not unusual for constituents to be “slinking through the back door” to complain to her.

 

p2309-prisons-Payne-CrossOn the other hand, Mr Cross (at right in the photo, with Commissioner Mark Payne) says a press used for making roof trusses was installed in the prison, saving home builders an average of $7000 in freight from Adelaide.

 

A local businessman complained, the press was sold to him, he went broke, the press finished up at Sitzler Brothers who donated it back to the prison.

 

Ms Lambley gave us the following list of Corrections clients, and of the goods and services they are buying from the prison. [We encourage readers to give us their views in the comment box below.]

 

B&S Home Timber and Hardware: Manufacture and supply of engineered timber roof trusses (under licence with Pryda Australia).

 

Centre Landscaping Supplies: Manufacture of concrete products including large range of various colours and sizes of pavers, headstones, sundries (tree rings / kerning).

 

Alcohol Mandatory Treatment Services: Provide laundry services since July 2013.

 

Alice Springs Police Watch House: Provide laundry services since 2009.

 

Double Tree Hilton (Alice Springs): Design and manufacture of new laser etched acrylic signage.

 

The Street Machine Summer Nationals (January 2016 in Canberra): Research and designs for coffee mugs (completed).

 

The Butterfly Connection: Provide promotional products and products for charitable events.

 

Salvation Army: Contract to recycle and remove the clothing and to bag the buttons, cutting up of clothes, washing, weighing and compressing to produce 10kg bags of mechanical rags.

 

Alice Springs Correctional Centre (ASCC): Recycling items from ASCC, community donations and clean out of Government buildings.

 

Desert Dogs Food Truck: Supply about 150 hot dog rolls each Friday from the ASCC Bakery.

 

Hardy Fencing: Manufacture fencing products and assist in projects as required.

 

Centre Landscaping Supplies: Manufacture and supply products as required e.g. plasma art, fire drums, furniture.

 

Manufactured daybed and catalogue products by NTCI Furniture Division.

 

Women’s Hall of Fame: Manufacture and supply furniture as required, e.g. plasma art and furniture. Project still in development phase. Ongoing project for 2016.

 

Centre Trailer Hire: Manufacture and supply box trailers.

 

Taps, Tubs, Tiles: Supply sink brackets as required.

 

Central Land Council: Construct and supply stock equipment.

 

Haasts Bluff Station, Tanami Station, Mt Riddock Station, Troy Coe Camel Company (SA), Landmark, Territory Stock Feed and Territory Rural: Supply stock equipment including portable cattle yard panels.

 

MacDonnell Shire: Construction of grandstands and tables.

 

J J Richards: Quoted on construction of skip bins.

 

Beantree Café: 20 chairs and 5 tables.

 

Territory Housing: Refurbished two houses which included building and fitting joinery for kitchen and laundry cupboards.

 

Territory Lettuce: ASCC provides Bok Choy to sell onto Coles, Woolworths and IGA Supermarkets.

 

Rockmelon, lemon grass, watermelon, sweet potato and white potato production: In trial phase for internal supply.

 

240 citrus trees: Second year orchard for internal supply.

 

 

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31 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Brenton Joy
    Posted February 16, 2016 at 7:25 am

    I am the director of B and S Home Timber and Hardware. Firstly, we have been selling timber trusses for many years now from suppliers out of SA. People want either timber or steel, it is builders’ choice whether to use steel or timber, on the outlying communities steel trusses are lighter to transport and are not affected by white ants.
    Some builders don’t like steel as in expands and contracts with the heat, therefore making a noise in the roof space.
    Timber trusses do not expand and contract therefore no noise.
    The price of our timber trusses has not dropped in most cases. The freight to get the timber here has not decreased, the price we pay for the labour is not reduced, the only saving is when you have trusses “oversize” then there is a saving on some of the freight costs.
    Robyn Lambley has never spoken to me to find out how it is working or not. We are not affecting other businesses in the market of timber trusses, as there is no one else. We agreed to get them from the facility to help the programme of retraining the inmates etc.

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  2. Eli Melky
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    @ Steve Brown Posted February 10, 2016 at 7:30am: What happens when the leadership does another mongrel act? Will you attack the CLP again? You are not fooling anyone with your selective loyalties. The CLP of today you speak of is the same CLP of yesterday, no one is fooled by that either.
    Now let me quote another one of your comments you made as part of your resignation – “we make absolutely no apology at all for speaking out! We would do exactly the same again tomorrow, decency must prevail!”
    You were not loyal then but expect hard working members of the CLP to believe you now.
    Right you are, I was there and as the then Deputy Treasurer of the CLP (not local branch), I asked the questions about the party finances and Foundation 51.
    I resigned from the party following a long and unfortunate abusive campaign directed at me by senior CLP members who refused to provide information about the party finances and Foundation 51.
    How can anyone trust a political party like the CLP who would not be upfront and honest with its own deputy treasurer?
    Today we read front page of the NT News another amazing story about your Deputy Chief Minister.
    You want to make us believe that the CLP are the best people to run this Territory? You have got to be kidding me.

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  3. Jamie
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 11:15 am

    @ Steve Brown. You say there is only one way to achieve a useful outcome or to create change in a democratic system of Government and that is by consensus!
    But what is consensus worth if it is based on mistruths and spin?
    You told an absolute whopper here about the success of the Sentenced to a Job prisoner rehab program and then skulked away when outed.
    I don’t think that repeating the CLP party line here in the Alice will get you far.
    We value independence, we want our politicians to be above the party line, to put us, the community, first.
    In my opinion you have sold out.

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  4. Tony Meman
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Those businesses who are giving their business to the prison are the type of businesses which we should be encouraging in Central Australia.
    Industries at the jail permit people who otherwise would never know a day’s work to participate in the work force and to experience what is termed a good life – or at least the commencement of a good life.
    Why shouldn’t those who are imprisoned have the opportunity to change their lives for the better? After all, one day they will get released (except for the very few who are never to be released) and they will need to function in society.
    Rather then the usual crying businesses in Alice Springs who want to keep the pot to themselves, get involved with this initiative and make money out of it.
    Those who purchase goods from the jail still pay the market rate. To say that it is slave labor or otherwise is just an insult to those inmates who are working and also to the jail and those who work in the centre.
    @ Local: It sounds like you have a chip on your shoulder. Maybe if your business practices were more refined then these companies would purchase goods from your business rather then the jail.
    The businesses who purchase goods from the jail should be supported from the community – they are making a stand to change Alice Springs into the city that it (and its inhabitants) deserve.

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  5. Steve Brown
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 7:30 am

    @ Eli: There is only one way to achieve a useful outcome or to create change in a democratic system of Government that is by consensus! You cannot be a majority by yourself!
    This means negotiating with your fellow elected members; you simply can’t do that effectively when you are attacking everyone and everything around you!
    So, Eli, in order to be a member that is of some value to your community you have first to be able to create a leash for yourself that is, strong enough, and secondly you have to put it on!
    The incident to which you refer when, Jan and I resigned from the CLP some years back, was triggered by what I regard as a low mongrel act.
    That leadership is gone, taking with it much of what was bringing the party down. You were there for a while, weren’t you? You’ll be pleased to know that as a result of their departure the party is resurgent, especially locally where there is a very strong and enthusiastic team growing by the day, utterly determined to prevent any backslide to where we were just a few short years ago under Labor.

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  6. Local
    Posted February 9, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    “Haasts Bluff Station, Tanami Station, Mt Riddock Station, Troy Coe Camel Company (SA), Landmark, Territory Stock Feed and Territory Rural: Supply stock equipment including portable cattle yard panels.”
    As a part business owner in Alice Springs the above mentioned is an insult. The three retail suppliers mentioned and four end users who would normally buy from any of us but can also buy direct from the prison at the same price or cheaper, I call it “slave labour” and they all went direct to the prison.

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  7. Jamie
    Posted February 9, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    @ Janet Brown: Yes a program can be successful or a failure depending whom you put in charge but that comment should not reflect on our dedicated NT Corrections staff.
    Corrections staff have no say in the matter, they have to implement politically driven programs as best they can in difficult circumstances, not the least of which is that prisons are inundated by high numbers of offenders.
    I imagine that Sentenced to a Job has presented a huge challenge to hard working prison staff given the inadequate and flawed resources the CLP has devoted to it.
    Systems are what count and it is our politicians alone who are responsible for them.

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  8. Janet Brown
    Posted February 9, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    I wish that a position in corrective services was available for me in restorative and rehabilitation field.
    During uni I studied forensic psychology. The lectures said that people are born with the ability to profile and I was one of those out of 6000 + they had taught. I was the only one. I was fascinated with restorative justice programms and I read how so many were failing due to normal psychology and sociology qualified people were in control of the programs.
    For that reason failure was eminent. A program can be successful or a failure depending who you put in charge and a piece of paper is just a piece of paper if you do not have the ability

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  9. Jamie
    Posted February 9, 2016 at 5:51 am

    @ Janet Brown: Of course we all need to welcome ideas that offer life changing opportunities and Sentenced to a Job was almost universally welcomed.
    Politicians made a lot of claims that it was a huge success.
    We all applauded their efforts.
    But now a different picture is emerging.
    At a time when the CLP were faced with soaring costs to run prisons that were bursting at the seams, Sentenced to a Job was launched.
    But the prisoners selected to participate in community jobs apart from work gangs were not your average prisoner.
    They were already job ready, most had good literacy and numeracy.
    These prisoners were used by the likes of Steve Brown to claim a huge reduction in reoffending.
    The other prisoners, the vast majority, requiring far more education were “sentenced to a whipper snipper”.
    Instead of a thorough education they have been put through Quicksmart.
    This is a literacy and numeracy program that doesn’t even need a qualified teacher, parents deliver this in mainstream schools.
    From my research it seems that Quicksmart was used as a stand alone program for the first time in NT prisons.
    It was not designed as a stand alone program, this was an experiment.
    Aboriginal prisoners were the research subjects.
    Quicksmart was cheap compared with a thorough education.
    So Sentenced to a Job appears to mostly spin.
    Janet, I’m sure you will agree that we need a lot more than fine ideas to drive prisoner numbers down and politicians absolutely need to be held to account.
    It would be interesting to hear from CLP politicians regarding the questions raised here.

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  10. Eli Melky
    Posted February 8, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    @ Steve Brown Posted February 6, 2016 at 1:30 pm: You came into council swinging with all guns blazing, but quickly found it easier to toe the line, what you call playing in the team.
    Therein lies the difference between you and I: No-one has created a leash strong enough to contain me, but clearly they have for you.
    As for your reply to @ Observer: “Of course I’m toeing the party line, that’s what you do when your part of a team! Petulantly undermining your team when you don’t agree is neither decent nor useful to the wider community.”
    On August 30, 2010 you resigned from the CLP then declaring that: “We cannot in good consciousness continue in a party that continues to support the current leadership and party structure.”
    For now you may be prepared to become a yes man, until things change that is, given your history.
    Who knows how long that will be. Is that what Alice Springs needs right now? Another yes man, in my view? I don’t think we need any more yes men.
    Your advice about China “that’s the world we live in!”
    This seems to put you at odds with your CM, allowing his unfortunate comments about a local small business, made recently in the newspaper. Perhaps you should direct that advice to him, as it’s not me who has the issue.
    So, in summary, as a self-declared yes man, I must take it you support the Sale of Port Darwin, TIO and an increase in the GST to 15%, should the Federal Government seek pursue it.

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  11. Jamie
    Posted February 8, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Peter, Sentenced To An Education just doesn’t sound as good as Sentenced to a Job does it?
    Your brief comments on Quicksmart are interesting.
    My research reveals that Quicksmart is a mainstream school remedial program i.e. it is added to a normal literacy or numeracy course in mainstream schools to boost the levels of failing students.
    It appears that this remedial supplemental program was implemented by itself in NT prisons.
    This was highly experimental research to be used as a stand alone program.
    Is it questionable that it should be trialled on Aboriginal prisoners?
    In 2014 John Elferink said the QuickSmart program is designed to provide a basic education and be relevant to the future needs of the inmate.
    But from everything I can find, Quicksmart, is actually a supplemental remedial program designed to be used in conjunction with a full course of literacy or numeracy.
    While arguably inadequate the structure of the Quicksmart program using tutors would be much cheaper and quicker than running full literacy and numeracy courses.

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  12. Peter
    Posted February 8, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Leaving the politics out of it, Sentenced to a Job is a good idea but it needs to be something more than “Sentenced to a Whipper-Snipper”.
    Corrections annual reports indicate the real numbers for the program don’t equate to budgeted figures, so clearly there is an issue there. As some have pointed out, it’s a challenging program but I believe those challenges are made worse because it may not have been set up correctly in the first place.
    There is a school of thought that Sentenced To An Education may be a better option in the Territory, given we deal with a whole different set of parameters than anywhere else.
    It is beyond comprehension that Pre-Sentence Reports don’t have independent literacy and numeracy assessments. Why try to put someone in a job if they have a very low level of attainment?
    Before anybody starts crowing about QuickSmart, all the successes of that program have been when it was linked to intensive remedial education programs. As a stand-alone, it is doomed to fail.
    Helping people into employment is a noble pursuit. Giving people the tools to turn that into a career would be even better.
    Until that is understood and genuine efforts are made in that area, the Indigenous incarceration and recidivism rates will remain stubbornly where they have always been.

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  13. Janet Brown
    Posted February 8, 2016 at 11:38 am

    @ Jamie: Careful, your misogyny is showing. Remember your ex leader was a woman. Steve is privy to stats that I am not.
    I view sentenced to a job from a different view. I see the human suffering and the opportunities to offer a life line to people to change their lives.
    Change lives in their families and see a future of opportunity and hope totally different to what they now live.
    So Jamie, you have no issue with naming prisoners as not a part of our community.
    Big news Jamie, they are part of our community and we all need to welcome ideas that offer life changing opportunities. We need to decrease our prison numbers and we do that by putting first the person as an individual and assist them to find strength in achieving.

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  14. Jamie
    Posted February 8, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Janet Brown. Have you been tagged by Steve when he decided he couldn’t defend his wild statistical claim?
    You are contradicting him by saying that results will be slow while Steve claimed a 70 per cent reduction in reoffending already.
    When you think about it the Sentenced to a Job programme is only an amazing concept if prisoners have been properly trained and prepared for a job.
    If not then it’s a sham.
    You would be aware that high numbers of Aboriginal people including prisoners are trained to be all manner of things including essential services operations on their communities but do not actually go on to hold ESO positions.
    So job readiness is a huge challenge, and it certainly is not just a matter of being part of a work gang or getting a quickie TAFE certificate.
    Sentenced to a Job is a hugely demanding undertaking that is far too important to be part of self promotion by the CLP before they have truly grappled with its challenges and done the hard yards.

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  15. Janet Brown
    Posted February 8, 2016 at 9:16 am

    A quote that always sets it so clear. Give a man fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him to fish and and eats for a lifetime.
    Sentenced to a job programme is an amazing concept. Results will be slow at first. And as time goes by knowledge and change will happen.
    Later this could be prisoners with skills working for local businesses to assist in areas of staff shortages.
    Let’s all get behind this programme and support changing the lifestyles of people caught in the revolving door of prison. Opportunities can change lives.

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  16. Jamie
    Posted February 8, 2016 at 5:36 am

    Sean, the SA and NT prison populations are very different.
    In SA there is a low proportion of Aboriginal prisoners and in the NT the vast majority are Aboriginal, many from remote communities.
    Even though SA prisoners generally have far higher literacy / numeracy levels the education offered them at the Adelaide Pre-release Centre is far more thorough than anything in NT prisons.
    Of course employment is important and it’s good to get prisoners working but in the NT this is being attempted without properly addressing the fundamental deficits that stand in the way of employment.
    Putting prisoners to work in supervised work gangs and picking out a few prisoners who already have worked or have skills and getting them working again in the community is all well and good but that should not be passed off as a wonderful new development in prisoner rehabilitation.
    Steve Brown’s statistics that the program reduces recidivism from 90% to 20% is pure spin and of course he is repeating the CLP spin.
    The average prisoner in the NT, poorly educated, speaking limited English and from a community where hardly anyone works does not transform into an employed non offending member of our society nearly as easily as the CLP Government would have us believe.

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  17. Sean - a Job is a Job
    Posted February 7, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    I’m not that interested in “he said, she said” but the South Australian government is very pro-active in getting work for prisoners.
    It seems to be beneficial, as the prisoners get into the swing of working for a living, whereas previously, some of them at least, came from welfare backgrounds.
    So I say good on SA Labor Premier Weatherill and CLP Chief Minister Giles for using this system, mainly because it benefits the rest of society when the prisoners are released.

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  18. Jamie
    Posted February 7, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Steve Brown: “So your solution is?”
    Get the politics and spin out of prisoner rehabilitation.
    Stop manipulating statistics to create sham success, your 90% risk of offending reduced to 20% for example.
    The focus on low risk of reoffending prisoners to create the impression of success means that most prisoners miss out of rehabilitation.
    One life saved (that would probably have been saved anyway) is at the cost of many lives neglected.
    There are no easy “get a job stop offending” options for the vast majority of prisoners.
    Education has always been the key and still is.
    There would be more employment options for prisoners if realistic options were considered such as artisan skills for the tourist industry.
    Already it is obvious that the area of Aboriginal art is the driver of most Aboriginal employment, but the focus needs to be easily made artefacts rather than high end art.

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  19. Steve Brown
    Posted February 7, 2016 at 9:23 am

    @ Jamie: So your solution is? Oh, to hide in the corner making snide remarks about those who are out there trying to make a difference. Mmmmm, useful indeed!
    All lives are equal Jamie as I said before, one life saved is one life saved and, Jamie, the figures are not being claimed across the board, only for those participating.
    Why is that? Because, surprise surprise, the program only seems to work for those participating! Quite frankly when making the comment I didn’t really think I needed to point that out, my apologies.

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  20. Jamie
    Posted February 6, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Steve Brown: “Does it matter whether or not they are short or long term, high or low risk prisoners?”
    Yes Steve it does matter.
    Sentenced to a Job is an expensive program that targets low risk of reoffending prisoners and then claims success based on the reoffending risk of all prisoners.
    You claimed prisoners with a 90% risk of reoffending had been reduced to 20% by the program.
    In fact the risk of offending of the group selected for the program was 20% all along.
    The sad truth is that the vast majority of high risk of reoffending prisoners are not going be moving into employment when released and are nowhere near that goal.
    There can’t read and write, or do simple maths and they have no work ethic.
    Sentenced to a Job does not address their fundamental deficits.
    For most prisoners the focus on getting a job is a complete mismatch.
    Except of course as a political stunt that sounds great and may win some votes.

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  21. Steve Brown
    Posted February 6, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Ah, our local political gymnasts Mr Melky.
    I have already given up far too many precious hours of my life in Council to your dizzying inability to understand even the most basic concept, Eli, and I don’t propose to waste further time here!
    What political barrow, what party or even non-party are you pushing this week? Do you even know yourself, I wonder?
    As for my business, I buy ALL my goods from local suppliers, 100%!
    And yes, I’m absolutely certain that my local supplying wholesaler sources some of those goods from China, that’s the world we live in!
    What about your business, Eli, from whence do you get your supplies? Do you use local contractors?
    As has been pointed out I am a small business operator and because of that I am hypersensitive to unfair competition in the market place.
    I keep a sharp eye out for any such occurrence. If you have a case, let’s hear it, I guarantee that I’ll do my damnedest to see it addressed, with a good outcome for local business the absolute priority.
    And let me tell you that despite the posturing, so far not one of you has put forward a genuine complaint.
    I have not had one phone call on this subject which makes it all the more curious that Robyn should raise it, especially given her own role as a member of the government that created it.
    In regards to timber trusses, a certain section of the market prefer timber and always use them. If they can’t get them here they are ordered directly from Adelaide. As such the manufacturing of those trusses by Corrections is not in direct competition to the local metal truss industry.
    What’s more, all the trusses are sold through and only through local hardware suppliers who are also the sole suppliers of all materials used in their manufacture.
    Yes, of course, they are in competition with the SA industry, that is considered justifiable because of the very necessary and rewarding outcome for our community.
    However if someone comes along and sets up a timber truss plant as before, once again Corrections will be forced to cease activity in this area. That’s the difficulty this very worthwhile program faces.
    @ James: Of course the only ones affected by the programs are those in them!
    Does it matter whether or not they are short or long term, high or low risk prisoners? One person not going back to prison is one person not going back to prison! One life saved! In my books that’s a win!
    @ Observer: Of course I’m toeing the party line, that’s what you do when your part of a team!
    Petulantly undermining your team when you don’t agree is neither decent nor useful to the wider community.
    The idea in a democracy is to convince others that yours is the right way. If you can’t do that, then it would generally follow that it isn’t! Maybe there’s a lesson for you in that!
    As for Another Observer: Another mindless political rant with no other intent than political sabotage regardless of consequence. As for awaiting a knock on your door, do you actually mean a discussion out there in the open? Where everyone knows who you are? Crikey! Looking forward to that! Why don’t you try it here first, on these pages, might stiffen up your spine!

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  22. Jamie
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    What puzzles me is that the prison does not direct its efforts towards areas where there is no local competition.
    For example the production of Aboriginal artefacts is ignored but there is a large local demand for them currently met by Chinese goods.
    Authentic local Aboriginal artefacts would command a premium in price and be well received by the tourist industry.
    Export opportunities abound.
    The prison could set up a production line supervised by their art / craft trainers where prisoners are engaged in wood carving and painting.
    It could run on a large scale and be very profitable, perhaps some profits could go back to the artists as wages.
    Prisoners could learn skills that would stand them in good stead as individual artisans on their release.
    This is an occupation suitable for female Aboriginal prisoners, a group somewhat overlooked in the Sentenced to a Job program.

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  23. Another Observer
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    The whole point that is missed in this bloody debacle is that the prison system is taking work / supply from private enterprise – remember private enterprise, the ones that pay taxes.
    Those in the prison system, including the DOJ employees DO NOT pay tax.
    If you are paid by the government (at whatever level), then all monies that you receive come from the private sector.
    Further, it is an uneven playing field – how the hell can local business compete with subsidised labour and administration?
    The fact that Giles seems to think that raising the GST will fix his $ problems makes my head spin – given that he is driving people out of business with his harebrained schemes.
    Between this, and the 10% of TOTAL contract value to be given to Indigenous people how the hell is business supposed to expand, employ people and in turn pay taxes?
    It is a sick joke andquite frankly, I’m waiting (patiently) for the CLP to door knock my house in the lead up to the next election so that they can cop it in person.

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  24. Observer
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Watch this space for some really impressive figures revealing the exceptional success of the Indigenous Employment Provisional Sum.
    Of course, these figures will not quite stack up under scrutiny when job numbers and migration / population numbers are looked at: Kind of like the false numbers of “tenders awarded to local companies” do not stack up when you start going through the tenders award list.

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  25. Eli Melky
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    @ Steve Brown Posted February 4, 2016 and particularly his last comment: “In the end that is in all our interests, to all our financial benefits, to see these programs succeed”.
    How is that in the best financial interests? A small business owner has to pay his rent, electricity, staff wages including all entitlements, holding stock, marketing costs and the list goes on.
    It is tough enough to stay in business without having to compete with a competitor who doesn’t have the same overhead cost.
    Surely that is not a fair deal. Private enterprise and small business clearly does not have the support of this candidate. While I accept that rehabilitation is part of the process for those convicted, I don’t agree that it is OK for this candidate to increase pressure on local business using tax payer funded programs that will threaten local jobs.
    It is the responsibility of the government to deal with social problems with support from the community, but surely not at the expense of local jobs.
    I have some questions for this candidate, what is your position on a moratorium on fracking?
    Will you support an increase in the GST to 15%?
    Do you support the sale of Port Darwin to the Chinese?
    Given comments made by your CM in today’s paper regarding the Chinese, do you in your electrical business use and supply product that is made in China?
    If so do you disclose to your customer that it is made in China, and do you provide an alternative where possible?
    Do you support the Sale of TIO?

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  26. Jamie
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Steve Brown: “Recidivism by those participating is down from 90% to somewhere around 20%.”
    Absolute rubbish.
    While the highest in the nation the Aboriginal recidivism rate in the NT is about 70% and non Aboriginal about 50%.
    Prisoners selected for the “Sentenced to a Job” program are not your average prisoner especially where they are working outside the prison.
    They are deemed to be very low risk and the group least likely to reoffend after release.
    So it is a statistical nonsense to compare the recidivism rate of the select group with that of the general Aboriginal jail population.
    Sentenced to a Job is overwhelmingly politically driven so its “success” will always be mandated.

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  27. Observer
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Well done Steve, your transformation, since preselection, sees you towing the party line very nicely indeed.
    Your previous displays of fiercely defending local business appears to have softened somewhat.
    The reality is, if local industry “goes” then all these newly skilled workers won’t have a job to go to … I am not seeing much in the of opportunity for bakers anymore since the closure of Stuart Bakery. It would be terrible to see truss manufacturing going the same way.

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  28. Steve Brown
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    Whether or not a product is being produced in competition to local manufactures is a matter of judgement, subject to continual review and discussion.
    I have been part of that discussion on a few occasions sitting in for the Mayor on the Correctional Industries Advisory Panel.
    There are always pros and cons, all concerned do their damnedest to minimize clashes with local businesses.
    However, we also have to keep in mind the enormous social problem that our community faces.
    More than 600 prisoners in a community as small as ours is both enormously expensive and socially unacceptable.
    The goal of correctional industries isn’t to make a dollar! The goal is to impart skills, to rehabilitate! Help offenders get off the merry go round.
    To ultimately produce more skilled workers for local industry and to reduce markedly the numbers in our jails. Correctional Industries and the “sentenced to a job” program represent the first real attempt to address this enormous problem.
    The programs run by enthusiastic dedicated and passionate staff can only be described as magnificent! And what’s more, they are making a difference.
    I don’t have exact figures but I’m sure Corrections will be keen to pass them on. I’ve been led to believe that recidivism by those participating is down from 90% to somewhere around 20% – or 1 in 5.
    By any measure that is a fantastic outcome!
    Of course from time to time clashes with local business will arise as different manufacturing businesses come and go.
    All genuine complaints about unfair competition are scrutinized by a panel that is very much aware of potential conflict with local business.
    Business will always be given priority balanced of course against the enormous cost savings to all tax payers, not just businesses, in keeping as many as possible out of our jails, by means of rehabilitation.
    So let’s not undermine the life changing work being undertaken. In the end that is in all our interests, to all our financial benefits, to see these programs succeed.

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  29. Observer
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    And of course there is a local steel truss manufacturer who has been a vital part of the local construction industry for a long long time. There can be no denying that timber trusses compete with steel trusses …

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  30. Maureen York
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Correctional Services made the ” Lest We Forget” sign that was displayed on ANZAC Hill on ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day last year.
    It was a beautiful gift from them to the town. The people from Alice Springs came together and made the poppies that adorned it.
    Photos of it went around the world. I will always be grateful and I applaud the work they do and their efforts to rehabilitate the inmates.
    Give them a break.

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  31. Peter H
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    I thought this horrid person had fallen down a hole!
    Wonder where all the stock at Mad Harry’s comes from? Could someone local supply?

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