The Victorian Budget 2018-19 invests $689.5 million to build a new 700 bed maximum security men’s prison at the Lara Prison Precinct, near Geelong.

The expansion follows the record investment by the Victorian Government to recruit 3,135 extra police, and introduce stricter sentencing and bail laws.

These changes, plus an increasing population, are expected to grow prison numbers, which is why the Budget also includes $91 million for extra beds and security upgrades at existing facilities across the prison system.

This includes $1.7 million in planning money and $6.8 million to upgrade fire-detection systems for the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre.

Construction of the new Lara Prison is set to create hundreds of local jobs, with ongoing employment opportunities once the facility is complete.

Through Local Jobs First , the government will ensure that Victorian contractors and workers are given the opportunity to build this new facility. Under the government’s Major Projects Skills Guarantee, registered apprentices, trainees, and engineering cadets will make up 10 per cent of the project’s total estimated labour hours.

The government is also investing $20.9 million to respond to the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Terrorism and Violent Extremism Prevention and Response Powers, including $6.8 million for the criminal justice system, further supporting staff to identify radicalisation in the prison system. In addition, The Torch Aboriginal art program and the Out of the Dark and other family violence programs in women's prisons will be extended.

Read the the official media release (External link) about the funding announcements.