Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader
While the Greens remain unconvinced of the need for a northern prison, we have long argued for a move away from the Brushy Creek Reserve for the Liberals’ prison towards a repurposed Ashley Youth Detention Centre.
The closure of Ashley after a century of mistreating children does provide an opportunity to protect the many natural values of the Birralee Road site near Westbury, and deliver a therapeutic, contemporary northern correctional facility.
While the final decision is yet to be made, Westbury residents who love the biodiverse Brushy Creek Reserve will today be allowing themselves to breathe a small sigh of relief. They have worked so hard to protect the amenity of their community and the values of the Reserve.
We welcome the Liberals’ decision to finally consult the community about the location of their planned northern prison. It really does seem like for Meander Valley locals it’s third time lucky.
This time representatives from government even spoken to neighbours of the site before the public announcement. That certainly didn’t happen when Minister Archer made her hasty decision to adopt a remnant patch of protected bushland as the preferred location.
We hope consultation is positive, and urge the Gutwein Government to take this opportunity to apologise to the township of Westbury for putting them through years of stress and anxiety.
The land at Birralee Road was purchased with Federal funding under the Private Forest Reserve Program. The State has an obligation to see this land reserved, and we urge the Government to fulfill this commitment out of respect for the communities of Westbury and Deloraine, as well as the taxpayers who ultimately funded the purchase of this land for reservation.