The Tasmanian Government has undertaken a thorough and extensive consultation process for the proposed Northern Regional Prison and has today released, in full, the independently conducted Social and Economic Impact Study (SEIS).
The Government undertook comprehensive community consultation process including three days of one-on-one meetings with the Minister for Corrections, a public meeting, drop in sessions and, most recently, telephone and mail surveys of local residents conducted by the independent consultant for the SEIS.
The study includes a social and economic impact analysis of the Northern Regional Prison; outcomes of a phone survey of Westbury postcode area residents and a mail survey of Meander Valley residents; and a survey of industrial businesses located near the proposed Valley Central site on Birralee Road.
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 per cent of the phone respondents and 45.4 per cent of the mail-out respondents).
Many indicated they would prefer a different location in the region, further away from the Westbury town centre.
The results of the SEIS also show the proposed development will have the following impacts, in present value terms, on the Northern region of Tasmania:
- an increased economic output of $280 million due to the construction of the prison, and a further economic output of $268 million from prison operations;
- a broader economic benefit to the region (gross regional product) of $92 million due to construction of the prison, and a further $168 million from prison operations; and
- a total of 739 additional full time equivalent jobs supported during construction and an additional 372 ongoing jobs supported by prison operations, with a further 40 ongoing jobs supported indirectly.
The SEIS shows that the proposed Northern Regional Prison will also generate a range of other important benefits to the north and north-west of Tasmania, including improved inmate rehabilitation driven by increased connectedness between inmates and their families during incarceration, which will lead to a reduction in crime and an economic benefit of $29.4 million to the north and north-west regions, according to the study.
The SEIS has now been publicly released in full and can be found on the Department of Justice website: https://www.justice.tas.gov.au/strategic-infrastructure-projects/new-northern-prison
Elise Archer, Attorney-General and Minister for Corrections