WRAP media release - 25 November 2020
Department of Justice loses environmental consultant at critical juncture
Mark Wapstra of Ecotas is no longer acting as the Government's environmental consultant for the Northern Regional Prison project at the Westbury Reserve.
"The resignation of the Government's environmental consultant is nothing short of game changing" said Linda Poulton.
"In a recent letter received from the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, a senior bureaucrat advised me the Australian Government is currently waiting for advice from the Tasmanian Government as to how the Department of Justice intends to protect the environmental values of the [Westbury Reserve] if the prison is placed there.
We have always known that the prison simply can't be built on the reserve without completely destroying its natural values. It's possible that towing the Government's line has proven to be too much of a pressure point.
This is yet another sign that the Department of Justice is completely out of its depth with this project. Its handling of the entire process has been ad hoc and shambolic. It has not been able to complete its due diligence on the reserve owing to poor planning for its geotechnical drilling. It now faces a far more daunting obstacle.
The future of the project completely depends on it having a negligible impact on the reserve's natural values. Any environmental consultant worth their salt would know that forming this conclusion would mean distorting the truth. Your professional reputation would be in tatters.
Poor planning ultimately results in the taxpayers having to foot the bill. If the Government persists, Tasmanians will end up with a large bill for work designed purely to save the Attorney-General's face" said Linda Poulton.
Vice-President and Spokesperson