WRAP - No prison in Westbury

Elise Archer doubles down on commitment to new northern prison site, revealing the proposed construction timeline

By Patrick Gee
The Mercury
23 June 2020

'Due diligence' on the new preferred northern prison site will be undertaken next month, the Corrections Minister says, as she reveals the timeline for construction, despite continued community opposition.

Doubling down on her declaration the Government has "every intention" of building a Northern Regional Prison at its new preferred site, Corrections Minister Elise Archer has released a timeline for the build.

In a statement, Ms Archer said the Government was committed to delivering the project in an effective and timely manner "following community consultation".

She said "due diligence" on the new preferred Crown Land site at Brushy Rivulet on Birralee Rd would be completed next month and stage one of the prison would be open by 2025.

The Government announced last week it would abandon its original preferred prison site at an industrial precinct on Birralee Rd 2km from Westbury due to community feedback and instead build at a new site 5km from the centre of Westbury.

NORTHERN PRISON CONSTRUCTION TIMELINE

  • July 2020 - Tasmanian Government finalises due diligence on Crown Land site at Brushy Rivulet on Birralee Road.
  • August 2020 - The Government begins development of the masterplan and Particular Planning Zone (PPZ) assessment including required consultation.
  • December 2020 - Planning application submitted.
  • March 2021 - Design and tendering begins.
  • Early 2022 - Construction works begin on Stage 1.
  • 2025 - Opening of Tasmania's Northern Regional Prison Stage 1.

Community group Westbury Residents Against the Prison, Labor and the Greens have continued to argue the Government's community consultation around the prison development has been illegitimate and the area is inappropriate for a prison development.

WRAP president Linda Poulton announced on Monday the group would continue to fight the development of a maximum-security prison in the Westbury region.

She said the Government pushing ahead without consulting on the new site was "history repeating itself".

The $270 million prison development is part of the Government's election commitment to spend $350 million on prison infrastructure in Tasmania.

Ms Archer said the plan would deliver jobs, provide economic stimulus and support Tasmania's building and construction sector.

"A key part of this prison infrastructure plan is our commitment to build the $270 million Northern Regional Prison," Ms Archer said.

"This vital project alone will support more than 1000 jobs and deliver an economic boost of $500 million to the region according to the recently completed and independently conducted Social and Economic Impacts Study."

Labor MP Jen Butler on Monday said the people of Westbury had not been listened to and the accuracy and scope of surveys commissioned by the Government were questionable.

Greens leader Cassy O'Connor last week said there were mixed feelings in the community about the Government's new preferred prison site.

 

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