Council urges Government to consult more on proposed prison

Posted on November 15, 2019

Meander Valley Council is calling on the State Government to work harder on consulting with the local community around the proposed Northern Prison near Westbury.


Meander Valley Council is calling on the State Government to work harder on consulting with the local community around the proposed Northern Prison near Westbury.

“We have written to the State Government urging them to do more consultation with the Meander Valley community about their proposed development,” Mayor Wayne Johnston said.

“Additional information sessions, an online feedback portal and a constant physical presence in the community are urgently needed to improve engagement and support for our community.

“It is not unreasonable to expect that after almost six weeks since the announcement that the Valley Central industrial precinct, north of Westbury, is the State Government’s preferred site that we would, at the very least, have greater clarity around the Government’s planned consultation process.

“Based on feedback Council is receiving from residents, this does not appear to be the case.”

Mayor Johnston said Council welcomed the fact that residents could contact the Government’s Project Team via mobile and email or make an appointment to attend a drop-in session.

“However, the community understandably has a lot of questions about this project and there are a lot of views, with some people for it, some against and some unsure,” he said.

“That’s why we believe the State Government needs to lift its game on consultation so that everyone who wants to have a say is given an opportunity to have a say.”

Mayor Johnston reiterated that the proposed prison was a State Government project with Council’s role being to represent community views and act as a planning authority.

“But that does not restrict our ability to request additional community support services from the State Government and to ask questions about their consultation process,” he said.

The Mayor’s comments came after the State Government’s proposed Northern Prison project dominated question time at Council’s Ordinary Meeting for the second month in a row. When the State Government announced their preferred site on the 30 September, around 70% of the people who contacted Mayor Johnston directly were in favor of the project. However, more recently a substantial amount of feedback opposing the project has been received at Council’s October and November meetings.

Mayor Johnston granted an extension of time during the meeting in Westbury on Tuesday (12 November) to give everyone an opportunity to ask questions and express their views.

“Council is listening and ensuring that all feedback received is sent to the State Government so that it can be formally included in their consultation process,” Mayor Johnston said.

Mayor Johnston repeated his call for everyone to ensure the debate around the proposal remains respectful and considerate, in keeping with the community spirit of the region.

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Enquiries: Mayor Wayne Johnston 0417 316 208