Corrections Minister Elise Archer has finally bowed to overwhelming community pressure and announced a new Northern Prison will not be located at Brushy Creek Reserve, Westbury. The Liberal Party were dragged kicking and screaming to this sensible position, forced to recognise communities would never stop in their defence of Brushy Creek’s natural values.
The Minister has reluctantly adopted the Greens’ original proposal – made two years’ ago – to locate any new therapeutic corrections’ facility on the site that currently houses Ashley Youth Detention Centre.
The bungling of this issue by Minister Archer has created enormous distress to residents of Westbury. It demonstrates, again, the power of protest to produce the best result for Tasmania.
The Greens want to pay tribute to the staunch and ongoing resistance shown by the local protest groups that sprung up to protect Westbury’s character and the integrity of the Brushy Rivulet Reserve. It’s another reminder that Tasmanians who love their place will always stand up against injustice and for natural values, no matter what the odds.
We look forward to Minister Archer’s apology to Westbury residents, and especially to all the members of WRAP (Westbury Residents Opposed to the Prison), CROWPS (Concerned Residents Opposed to the Westbury Prison Site) and the Central North Field Naturalists (led by the eminent Sarah Lloyd, OAM) who suffered undue anxiety over this issue for all these years.
The Liberal Government needs to honour the agreement undertaken with the Commonwealth when the block at Brushy Creek was purchased with funds from the National Reserve System Program – it needs to provide legal conservation protection for Brushy Creek.
Brushy Rivulet Reserve is saved, thanks to the power of community protest and persistence.