WRAP media release - 30 September 2020
Anniversary of the Northern Prison Announcement
Today is the anniversary of the Government's announcement in 2019 that the Northern Regional Prison was to be located near Westbury.
With that announcement, we all realised that the Westbury we love would disappear if the prison were to be built on that site.
While a few in the community have been satisfied by the change to the new site, many, many others have not. We have many new stakeholders who are also in opposition to this proposal.
We still believe that the prison is far too close to our historic town and if it is to be built at all, it needs to be built near a large urban centre which can service it.
This fight has shifted gears. It has turned into a marathon as opposed to a sprint.
We are up against the State's most powerful developer, and all of its allies.
But we have had a major victory; shifting the Government off the first site was an incredible achievement that we should be so very proud of. If the Government had had its way, the planning application on the industrial site would have been over the line by now and tenders for construction would have been out.
But thanks to us, they did not win that battle.
The Government is now trying to squeeze this monstrous development onto a nature reserve, purchased with Commonwealth Funding in 1999 to be set aside as such in perpetuity as part of the National Reserve System.
The Government will distort the history and downplay natural values of this land to try to mould it around this prison.
They say they are conducting due diligence, but in reality, they are simply trying to shore up some shonky deals behind the scenes.
We know that they are trying to convince the Commonwealth Government to let them get away with this.
We know that they have bullied the Tasmanian Land Conservancy to try to make it give up its entitlement to be gifted this land.
We know that they intend to build this prison despite the fact that it will lead to the abandonment by Wedge Tail eagles of a healthy nest on the boundary to the property. Constructing and operating this prison will go against all of their own guidelines and recommendations on such matters.
We know that this prison will cost millions more to build on the new site.
We know that this prison will completely obliterate the Westbury we know and love.
The Government does all of this in circumstances where members of the public have come forth with far more suitable parcels of land for the prison. They do this because they are bloody minded. They are willing to try anything to get this project over the line near Westbury, where they will stand to lose the least votes, or so they think.
But we are still here, fighting, because we love Westbury the way it is and we do not want it to become a feeder town for a prison. We do this because we are part of a true community.
Today we celebrate Westbury and its wonderful community and the fact that there is still no progress on the prison here. Nor will there ever be.
President, WRAP Inc