Low-risk prisoners at Innisfail Work Camp are playing a role in helping the town prepare for Cyclone Jasper, assisting the SES and Cassowary Coast Regional Council to clear drains and gutters, trim trees and fill sandbags.
Cassowary Coast Mayor, Mark Nolan said the Innisfail Work Camp had been a great contributor to the Cassowary Coast through its community amenity projects, and their support has been gratefully received.
“At times of emergency we need all hands on deck, and it’s comforting to know that the Work Camp crew is on stand-by to assist should the need arise,” he said.
“On behalf of Council I extend our gratitude for their contributions to date, and ongoing support into the future.”
Innisfail Work Camp is aligned to Lotus Glen Correction Centre. It was initially established to assist with the clean-up after Cyclone Larry in 2006, and since then has played a significant role in the preparation and recovery for the region’s severe storms and cyclones.
In 2014 they were deployed to Cooktown after Cyclone Ida devastated the town and helped the community to rebuild.
Queensland Corrective Services’ Work Camp Program provides valuable labour for community service projects across regional Queensland as a pathway for successful prisoner rehabilitation.
“Queensland Corrective Services has an important role in supporting disaster management groups across Queensland prepare for and clean up after weather events, and work camps are key to providing crucial labour where it is needed most,” said Central and Northern Command QCS, Assistant Commissioner, Eloise Hamlett ACM.
“Innisfail Work Camp has helped the community prepare and rebuild after each cyclone since 2006 and we are proud to continue providing that assistance.
“Our QCS officers also work tirelessly with their work camp teams throughout the year and I thank them for their commitment and dedication to their important roles.”
In 2022-23, prisoners on the Work Camp Program completed 147,989 hours of community service, the equivalent to $4.25 million in labour supporting regional Queensland.
Other correctional centres are also assisting in the preparations, with prisoners at Maryborough Correctional Centre filling sandbags for the SES.
“We have well-established plans in place to provide labour to the Innisfail region in times of need,” said Innisfail Work Camp Supervisor, QCS, Colin Watson.
“Giving back to the community is fundamental to the rehabilitation of prisoners and the team here is ready and on-hand to help out where needed.
“Over the past few weeks, they have been busy clearing drains and cutting trees, and are now working with the SES to fill sandbags to protect buildings and homes.
“This reparation to the community develops a work ethic and sense of worth in prisoners that sets them up for a positive reintegration back into the community.”
Cyclone Jasper weakened to category 1 on Sunday night but the Bureau of Meteorology today said it is expected to intensify before crossing coast of far north Qld near Cairns.