Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment spokesperson
The Liberals’ hastily-made, politically-driven decision to move the northern prison site has resulted in their selection of an ill-advised, inappropriate and costly location, fraught with significant unresolvable issues.
The Crown Lands permit released publicly by Westbury Residents Against the Prison confirms Westbury Reserve is a haven for threatened species – and the government knows it.
The permit identifies the Tasmanian devil, Wedge-tailed eagle, Masked owl, Grey goshawk, Green and gold frog, Blue pincushion and Handsome hooksedge as present on the site – all listed under the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995.
A 2016 DPIPWE assessment of the Reserve acknowledged it meets IUCN criteria for conservation. The Department then identified endangered Masked owl and Tasmanian devils on the site, along with a neighbouring Wedge-tailed eagle nest, and subsequently recommended the site have permanent protection.
The Wedge-tailed eagle nest is within range of Westbury Reserve and is actively used. There is no justification for going ahead with this drilling during eagle breeding season.
It is inexplicable the Liberals continue to ignore the threatened natural values of Westbury Reserve that were agreed need protection. These are values that have been verified by governments on multiple occasions across more than a decade.
Minister Jaensch must step in. He needs to take responsibility and put a stop to the government-sanctioned drilling on Westbury Reserve.
The Liberals are pushing ahead with their rushed plans for a northern prison at Westbury Reserve against community outcry, and all warnings of impacts on natural values and threatened species.
This northern prison site has no public support, it compromises natural values, and would be a massive drain on the public purse. The Liberals should swallow their pride and abandon this highly problematic proposed site, which never even made the list of possible prison locations.