Major industries and investments have not been offered to Goulburn over the last 70 years. Our taxes have been used elsewhere. Australia's population has trebled and we stay around 29,000. We don't get growth because the political parties take from us and apply elsewhere.
We were a centre for southern NSW, but the ACT and Southern Highlands marginalised us. We have lost education, the railways, wool stores and sale yards along with the major hospital (1870) to our neighbours. What has not been taken from us is the jail.
Corrective services are one of the biggest employers in town. The nature of imprisonment is changing from confinement and punishment towards treating mental health and providing education. The diversity of employment becoming available from these developments could be beyond our imagination.
We are advised that Goulburn is not seen as a favoured destination for a second jail due to its distance from Sydney. This is hard to believe given we are under two hours from southern Sydney, which has a projected growth of two million people over the next 20 years. More likely, the decision is being made for political reasons to give advantage to other regions.
Our housing and rents are affordable relative to Sydney, Bowral and Canberra. The infrastructure is in place. The robust brick hospital with jail facilities is already operating. This town has experience in correctional facilities. We should sell what we have a comparative advantage in.
Given our rural surrounds, space is available at an acceptable cost. I ask the council and our local member to vigorously explore opportunity for a second jail in Goulburn.