TAMWORTH’S Belmore Engineering company has been awarded a $3 million contract to build an expansion to Kempsey Correctional Centre.
The facility will see another 440 male inmates housed at the prison.
Belmore Engineering managing director David Green grew up in Tamworth and takes pride in hiring local.
“We started our businesses around the early 90s and this premises has been here since 2004,” he said.
“We do all the manufacture here, the only time it moves away from Tamworth is when it’s shipped out through generally local transport companies.
“It boosts employment, with the 45 people we employ all of that stays in Tamworth and anything we do on site we’ll have one or two guys there from the Tamworth base working on site.”
Jail pods will come from Brisbane to Tamworth, and be taken to Kempsey where Belmore Engineering will construct the expansion complex around them – supplying all of the structural steel for the project.
The benefit to manufacturing in regional Australia over the metropolitan areas is that wages are lower and people can afford the cost of living Mr Green said.
The workforce can fluctuate up to 50 employees plus sub-contractors dependent on workflow, and on Friday the business was visited by Corrections Minister David Elliott – who toured the space and made enquiries on progress.
He was joined by Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson, NSW Corrections governor Bill Fittler and NSW director of custodial services Glen Scholes.
“We’ve got some very long term employees, some of them are coming up to 18 plus years,” Mr Green said.
“And we have in excess of 10 per cent Indigenous employees, some of which are long term as well.
“Everything will be done in the workshop, these guys specialise in manufacture.”
Lower costs helps to make the business competitive with major metropolitan areas, and it’s not the first time the business has been involved in jail construction.
A few years ago Belmore Engineering rebuilt the maximum security area at Golbourn Jail.
“We hope it’s a successful outcome for us and I believe it will be,” Mr Green said.
The expansion is expected to operate more efficiently once completed.