The Tasmanian Liberal Government is committed to delivering on its election commitment to build a $270 million Northern Regional Prison to address the challenges facing the State’s correctional system.
This vital project 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.
The Government has listened carefully to the Westbury community and local businesses during an extensive community consultation process for the preferred Northern Regional Prison site.
It is clear there are some that support the benefits the new prison brings to the region while others are not in support of the site.
A clear theme reiterated by community members however, was that building the prison at a site further away from the township of Westbury would be preferable.
The study indicated that a number of respondents indicated their level of support for the Northern Regional Prison would increase if their issues and concerns were being addressed (42.7 percent of the phone respondents and 45.4 percent of the mail-out respondents).
Many indicated that they would prefer a different location, further away from the Westbury town centre. In addition, some businesses in the Valley Central industrial precinct had some concerns with the location.
A suggestion from numerous meetings with businesses and community members revealed that many would prefer a site further away from the town centre.
After careful consideration and taking on board the feedback, a new site has now been identified for the Northern Regional Prison.
This new site is a Crown land site at Brushy Rivulet on Birralee Road 5.2 kilometres from the Westbury town centre.
To be clear, the Government will not be pursuing the previous preferred site.
Preliminary analysis of this Crown land site has been undertaken while further, more detailed work on-site will now progress.
I thank the residents of the Westbury and broader Meander Valley community for their valuable feedback and participation in the extensive consultation process.
We will now undertake further due diligence of this new site over the coming weeks, as well as talking to local landholders and engaging the local community.
At a time when the State needs jobs more than ever before, we are committed to delivering the Northern Regional Prison in an effective and timely manner.
Elise Archer, Attorney-General and Minister for Corrections