Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment spokesperson
Documents released under Right to Information clearly outline why the Westbury Reserve is an entirely inappropriate location to build a prison. They detail the important conservation values on this site. Starkly different to the dishonest story the Liberals have been perpetuating.
The documents reveal the Reserve has an even greater extent of threatened flora than previously identified by government. They even show the Federal Environment Department repeatedly pressing the Tasmanian Government to uphold its contractual obligations and legally protect the site’s conservation values.
The RTI reveals the Liberals failed to honour a 1999 agreement with the federal government to provide legal protection for the environmental values in the area, including Peppermint Gums.
They also show the primary reason core test drilling in the Reserve was delayed last year was because it might impact on threatened plants. At the time, the Liberals blamed the presence of concerned community members for the drilling halt.
The Liberals junked their original site for a northern prison after massive community backlash, and opportunistically picked the new site in a rush to save political face. Its legal status as a Reserve, the impact on threatened flora and fauna, community opposition, lack of crucial supporting infrastructure, high bushfire risk, road safety concerns, and cost blow outs – everything points to this being the wrong place for a prison.
The evidence of significant environmental values at Westbury Reserve is written throughout these RTI documents. The Liberals should admit their mistake, and abandon development plans for a site that should be protected as it was originally intended – not flattened to make way for a massive prison.