Thursday, 12 July 2012
Like many country areas around New South Wales, Grafton City and environs has seen past glories turn into a falling population, less young people of working age living in town, higher unemployment rates than both state and national averages, a slowly shrinking viable central business district and rolling job losses as large companies withdraw to bigger regional or metropolitan centres.
Despite these woes, it had remained the transport hub for the Clarence Valley, the centre for most locally delivered state and federal government services and, one of two main administrative centres for the local government area.
That changed less than two hours ago when the O'Farrell-Stoner-Gulaptis juggernaut finally sent in prison vans (protected by members of the police riot squad) to remove inmates from Grafton Gaol - turning it into a 60 bed remand centre for individuals awaiting court appearances.
Grafton has now lost 107 permanent jobs which will depress the local economy further and have a flow-on effect across the Valley.
The very craven Nationals Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis reportedly turned up outside the gaol after those vans had entered the prison.