MS TIERNEY (Minister for Corrections) (12:43:42) — I rise to update the house on the fire that took place at the privately operated Port Phillip Prison in the early hours of 29 November. Thankfully all staff were safely evacuated and prisoner accommodation was not impacted by the fire. While the cause of the fire is being investigated, it is not thought to have been suspicious.
I did visit the prison last Thursday with the deputy corrections commissioner, Rod Wise, to meet senior management and check on the damage firsthand. I would like to commend the Port Phillip Prison general manager, Craig Castle, and the deputy general manager, Trish Sellman, who showed great leadership in the aftermath of the fire. Mr Castle and Ms Sellman were on the scene in the early hours of the morning shortly after the fire started, and they led the response. I want to thank every single staff member at the prison for stepping up and responding to this emergency and the firefighters who stopped the fire spreading.
The damage to the administration building is extensive. It caused major disruptions to prisoner services, including visits and phone calls, something that I want to see fixed as soon as possible so family and friends can visit inmates. While the prison is still operating on a restricted regime, G4S is continuing to facilitate small groups of prisoners getting out of their cells throughout the day. Visits with legal representatives resumed last week, and access to programs and education is expected to resume later this week. I would also like to acknowledge the assistance provided by the courts in rearranging schedules.
Corrections Victoria is working closely with G4S to ensure Port Phillip Prison continues to operate in a safe and secure manner. For further updates I refer the public to the Corrections Victoria website.