Taxpayers hit with $1.2m Risdon bill

TAXPAYERS have been dumped with a $1.2 million blow-out associated with a Risdon Prison toilet breakout.

The figures were flushed out during an estimates hearing in Parliament this month.

On October 1, 2010, a maximum security inmate was found to have escaped his cell via the toilet service duct in the rear wall.

As a result, 69 inmates had to be evacuated from  maximum security, which was offline for more than two months.

Infrastructure and staffing costs were estimated at  about $1.88 million not including legal fees, Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin told the estimates  committee.

Ms Goodwin said the government had reached a $650,000 settlement with the construction joint venture behind the the prison complex.

The settlement will offset fees charged by the venture, which compromises Fairbrothers Construction and John Holland, for further construction work.

Greens prisons spokesman Nick McKim thought the deal was a bit of a stinker.

‘‘The taxpayer wears a significant extra cost which occurred through no fault, in my view, of the Tasmanian Prison Service,’’ he said.

Ms Goodwin said she did not believe the settlement occurred during her time as Attorney-General.

The toilet breakout followed a particularly volatile time at Risdon including a vicious attack on six prison guards.

The prison’s then general manager said the unprovoked assaults were  among  the worst she had seen in her career.

A $20 million upgrade to the prison is expected to be complete this year.

There were no escapes from Risdon in 2013/14, according to the budget papers.

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