Media release – Ella Haddad MP, Shadow Minister for Corrections, & Jen Butler MP, Labor Member for Lyons, 1 June 2020

Don’t sit on Westbury report

· Peter Gutwein must release report as promised

· Westbury community doesn’t want prison

· Government must go back to the drawing board

Labor has called on Peter Gutwein to honour his promise to release a key report into the proposed northern prison.

Shadow Minister for Corrections Ella Haddad said the government has confirmed it’s taken delivery of a Social Economic Impact Study of proposed $270 million prison.

“The Premier promised the Westbury community during a visit in February that he would release this report, which will ‘feed into decision-making’ on whether the government will push ahead with Westbury as the site. He needs to waste no time in doing that.

“Peter Gutwein has two simple tasks: release the report as promised, and tell the Westbury community how much longer his government will prolong their distress.

“After getting the initial consultation process very badly wrong, the government has dragged out a series of surveys it says will inform its final decision.

“The community has made it clear they will not support a prison in their town. Peter Gutwein is delaying the inevitable.”

Labor Member for Lyons Jen Butler said while Labor supports development of a northern prison, it’s not appropriate to force a decision on a community.

“Westbury is a small rural town, and residents are concerned the prison will dominate the town, destroy its heritage values, and take Westbury off the map for tourists.

“The government must concede they’re looking in the wrong place.

“They need to go back to the drawing board, release the shortlist of potential sites, and start over with a genuine consultation process with the Tasmanian community.”

Media release – Westbury Region Against the Prison, 1 June 2020

Petition to Council

This afternoon at 2.50pm, WRAP will present the Meander Valley Council with a petition which calls on the Council to hold a public meeting to discuss the Westbury prison.

“This petition has been signed by close to 800 people in the Meander Valley municipal area. We believe that it meets the requirements of a petition under section 59 of the Local Government Act 1993, and that Council will have to hold this meeting.

We fully understand that a public meeting cannot be held in the current lockdown and it is not our expectation that Council holds the meeting now. Rather, we expect that the Council will hold a public meeting as soon as the restrictions are lifted.

We have repeatedly asked the Council to hold a public meeting to consult with its community about the proposal to build a huge correctional centre in the municipality. We first asked for such a meeting way back last year before COVID-19 was an issue.

Council has refused to hold such a meeting, casting itself as a mere spectator in relation to this controversial project, when nothing could be further from the truth.

It was the Council that first expressed interest to the Government in a correctional centre being located in the Meander Valley in February 2018. It was also the Council that submitted the application to the Government for a prison to be located at Birralee Road in November 2018.

This is the second petition with approximately 800 signatures submitted to the Council in opposition to the prison. The first petition, submitted last year, appears to have been sucked into a black hole.

This issue is not going away. We are sick of not being listened to by our Council.

We are also sick of being kept in the dark about the results of the survey recently undertaken by the State Government.

We understand that the State Government is now in possession of the Final Socio Economic Impact Report from SGS Economics.

This is the report which contains the Government’s survey results and it’s what the Government has been waiting for to make its decision on Westbury.

We call on the Government to release the report immediately.