WRAP - No prison in Westbury
WRAP media release - 13 July 2021

Meander Valley Council will hold public meeting on Northern Regional Prison

After a fiery opening to the ordinary meeting of the Meander Valley Council this afternoon, the Meander Valley Council has agreed to hold a public meeting on the broader topic of the Northern Regional Prison, with newly inducted Councillor Deb White labelling the attempt to narrow the scope of the public meeting as "mean minded".

About 40 people turned up to listen to the Council deliberate on narrowing the scope of the meeting.

Council, however, had limited public attendance in the meeting room to only 7 people, so many people were not allowed in, instead having to mill about in the foyer.

Those outside the meeting room then requested for the doors to the Council room to remain open so that they could at least hear Council's deliberations. This request was refused, but following noisy protests from those excluded, the decision was reversed and the doors to the Council rooms were opened.

"We pressed for our views on the petition and the meeting to be heard in public question time and this led to a lot of exasperation when some responses given to us were typically dismissive," said Mrs Anne-Marie Loader, who presented the petition to the Council.

"In the end, though, our attendance had the desired effect because the upshot was that the Council decided to hold the public meeting on the broader topic of the prison proposal in our municipality no matter what the location.

We now await our chance for open, transparent consultation about the proposed structure of the meeting with the General Manager.

Ultimately, today was a triumph for our community which had worked tirelessly to organise this second petition to force this meeting out of Council. The attendance today is testimony to the fact that our community remains passionate about this issue and we insist that our Council involves us in its vision for our municipality," said Mrs Loader.

The Council decided to defer a decision on the General Manager's proposal to make the petition open to public inspection following an impassioned plea from WRAP's President, Mrs Emma Hamilton, that doing so would unnecessarily expose the personal details of those who signed the petition to risk.

The date and time currently proposed for the public meeting is Wednesday, 11 August at 5.30pm.

Anne-Marie Loader
Secretary, WRAP Inc


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