Clarence Valley Independent

Local disability enterprise wins Grafton gaol contract

From left to right, CEO of Caringa Angela Choy, Environmental Manager of John Holland – Trent Doyle, OIC’s Supported Employees – Andrew Laidlaw, Gavin Neale & Michael Morris, OIC’s Disability Enterprises Manager – Mark Smidt, Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis, Chairman of Caringa’s Board of Directors – Collen Pritchard & OCI’s Vocational Supervisor, Nick Campbell.


Grafton-based Caringa Enterprises Ltd, which provides supported employment to people living with disabilities, has won a contract to build twenty-two nesting boxes for the new Grafton Correctional Centre, Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis has announced.

“We’re building Australia’s largest prison infrastructure and I am thrilled we can add some social infrastructure in the mix. It might not be a huge contract but it is a huge deal for Caringa and for the Clarence Valley,” Mr Gulaptis said.

Mr Gulaptis visited Caringa’s office in Grafton on Thursday, along with representatives from John Holland, which is part of the Northern Pathways consortium designing and building the new gaol.

“The nesting boxes will be installed in the on-site conservation area, for use by gliders, possums, parrots, bats and other small mammal and bird species,” Mr Gulaptis said.

In the course of construction, more than 1,000 native fish, 15 freshwater eels and five Eastern long-necked tortoises have been relocated from dams on site.

Disability Enterprises Manager of Caringa Mark Smidt said staff and employees felt gratified to be part of this major local project.

“It is refreshing to see both government and the contractors clearly demonstrating a genuine commitment to environmental sustainability and simultaneously providing the community with essential infrastructure,” he said.

Mr Gulaptis said that in addition to local business contracts, there will be over 1,100 jobs created during the construction of the gaol, and a further 600 ongoing jobs once the new prison is operational.

“The new Grafton Correctional Centre is on track to be open mid-2020,” the MP concluded.

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