As Minister for Corrections I called in to Westbury again this afternoon with the Premier and my Lyons Liberal colleagues, following a Cabinet meeting in Launceston, to talk with some local residents regarding the Northern Regional Prison preferred site.

We met with residents and local business owners who came forward with both constructive and informative feedback, and I welcome this as a part of our ongoing consultation with the Meander Valley community.

We acknowledged the concerns some members of the community have about the Northern Regional Prison, while also hearing from those who believe this $270 million project will bring many economic benefits to the region.

We are committed to a comprehensive community consultation process, which involves hearing directly from local residents and businesses in an informal setting like we did today, as well as other visits and public meetings.

Bec White’s disingenuous claims today that we ‘continue to ignore the concerns of residents’ is rubbish, and alarmingly calling for the Government to walk away from the Northern prison commitment, is a call to walk away from jobs and economic stimulus for the region, which is testament to their Party’s reckless and out of touch approach.

The facts of the matter are, Labor doesn’t have a single policy to improve Tasmania’s ageing prison infrastructure. All they do is complain about these challenges, but when it comes to fixing them like we are, they are bereft of any plan of their own.

Well we do, and we are getting on with what the Tasmanian people elected us to do.

The residents and businesses of Meander Valley can be assured we are listening and responding, and we believe the project will be positive for the broader region as well, and we will be working closely with them to ensure a good outcome for the entire community.

It’s important to remember we are working our way through a process to determine the preferred site’s suitability and a final decision is yet to be made.

Elise Archer, Minister for Corrections