Ararat Rural City Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Evans addresses the media on Thursday.ARARAT – Ararat Rural City Council has criticised the State Government following the announcement that one of the parties involved in the construction of the Ararat Correctional Centre has gone into liquidation.

St Hilliers Ararat Pty Ltd, a member of the Aegis Consortium involved in the construction of the prison, has gone into liquidation, with the work site closed.

Ararat Rural City CEO Andrew Evans said this will have a significant flow on effect to the community, with the prison construction meant to be a major boost to the Ararat economy.

“Spring Street told us that there would be an economic flow on effect from that construction and economic flow on as a result of the added permanent jobs,” Mr Evans said.

With news that a number of contractors are now owed hundreds of thousands of dollars, Mr Evans said many of these contractors will not be able to ‘hang out for the money for long.’

“Very few contractors in rural areas can maintain a cash flow to cope with a $300,000 to $400,000 debt for any length of time,” Mr Evans said.

“It’s grossly unfair on contractors.”

Mr Evans said Council was told at the beginning of the project that the government has prisoners waiting in inappropriate holding cells, waiting to move to Ararat and that with the current Government platform of an increase in law and order, he said there will now be more prisoners needing extra accommodation.

“The project needs to be finished, the two parties have to sit down and work out a solution,” he said.

The subsequent flow on effect of the closure of the work site will filter all the way down through many areas of the community, according to Mr Evans.

“Many of the 400 employees live in the region, most have been stood down,” he said.

“They won’t be coming into town to spend and this will continue if the dispute lingers.”

Mr Evans said Council will continue to lobby the government to solve the dispute and get the money flowing again.

“We will do what we can to assist,” he said.

“At the end of the day we don’t have a handle we can tweak, we will put it to the Government and consortium that they need to solve it as it is what the Ararat community needs.”

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