On 30 September 2019, the Tasmanian State Government announced the preferred site for the new maximum security Northern Regional Prison is at 135 Birralee Road, Westbury.
Prior to the announcement, the Westbury community wasn't aware that a Westbury property had been put forward as part of the government's Expression of Interest process. Following the announcement, it came to light that the Meander Valley Council had been involved in putting the property foward without proper consultation with the community.
Following a public meeting in Westbury during October 2019, the community action group, Westbury Region Against the Prison Inc (WRAP), was formed.
A survey was undertaken in December 2019 by WRAP. The survey was designed and analysed by an independent team at James Cook University. Over 80% of Westbury adults don’t want a prison in their village. (The remainder were split between ‘Unsure’ and ‘Yes’.) None of the 28 local businesses surveyed thought that a prison at Westbury would be good for their business.
WRAP is calling for the State Government to locate the prison outside any small towns where the majority of people don’t want it.
Some politicians are now trying to use other Meander Valley towns against Westbury. They’re planning to ask, via their highly paid consultants, if other Valley towns are happy to force a prison on Westbury. They’ll probably subtly word their questions to avoid conveying that the prison is being forced on Westbury – and they probably won’t mention the alternative of locating the prison away from existing communities, which would be a fair, win-win option.
WRAP is asking the people of Meander Valley to stick together and tell the politicians and their consultants: No prison near communities that don’t want the prison.
WRAP supports prisoners’ families. Some WRAP members are also families of prisoners.
WRAP doesn't want places in Westbury like this
... to become like this