Australia reaches financial close on its largest prison

The A$2.6bn 1,700-bed PPP in NSW is backed by Serco, John Laing, John Holland and Macquarie Capital.

The Northern Pathways consortium has reached financial close for the A$2.6 billion ($1.99 billion; €1.75 billion) New Grafton Correctional Centre PPP project in New South Wales, which will be the largest facility of its kind in the country. 

The consortium – comprising the UK’s Serco and John Laing, as well as John Holland and Macquarie Capital from Australia – will design, construct, operate and maintain the new facility on behalf of the state government for 20 years. 

The jail will include a maximum security facility for 1,000 men and 300 women, and a minimum security unit for 400 men. The project will focus on rehabilitation and is intended to address a shortage of beds and facilities across the state’s correctional centres. 

The NSW government will retain ownership of the facility and all its equipment, while licensing operations to the consortium. Construction of the complex is due to begin this year, with completion by 2020.

The project is expected to inject more than A$560 million into the local economy over the period of the contract, with more than 1,000 construction jobs and 600 operational jobs to be created. 

The team was named preferred bidder in March. A statement from the state government described the bid as “superior” in terms of operational excellence, price and design. 

Consortium member Serco already operates correctional facilities in Australia, the UK and New Zealand, including Australia’s current largest site – the 1,400-bed Acacia Prison.