Council welcomes State Government’s decision on Northern Regional Prison

Posted on June 18, 2020

Tasmanian Government announces new site for proposed project

Meander Valley Council has welcomed the decision of the Tasmanian Government to progress its application for a prison in Meander Valley.

Council is aware that the community has clearly differing and strong views, both for and against the prison.

“The results of the community survey conducted by the Tasmanian Government suggest that more Meander Valley residents are in favour of a prison than not. That said, the State Government has clearly listened to the broad range of views expressed through its consultation process and have come up with an alternative.

I anticipate the Tasmanian Government’s Social and Economic Impact Study will give further insight into the views of the community and the potential economic activity generated by the proposed prison.

Our assessment as a planning authority will consider the potential economic benefits and whether the project will help diversify and improve the resilience of the local economy through construction and employment opportunities,” Mayor Wayne Johnston said.

As a planning authority, Council’s role is to consider the appropriateness of the development under planning legislation.

“It’s good news that we can move forward with a clear direction on the prison. Anti-prison groups have stated that they were not opposed to a prison in the north, but wanted it located further from the Westbury Township and the State Government has listened. Council can now focus on working through the planning process with the State Government and the community to ensure the right outcome for Meander Valley,” Mayor Wayne Johnston said.

General consultation on the prison proposal remains the responsibility of the Tasmanian Government. Council will however, work with the Tasmanian Government to support specific community consultation and the provision of information needed to decide any planning application for the prison.

In February 2020, Council met with both pro and anti-prison people from the community. At that meeting Councillors extended an offer to community representatives to reconvene when further information was provided by the State Government to discuss the best ways to inform, engage and assist Council in fulfilling its role as a planning authority.

“As we move forward, it is important that we look beyond the ‘for or against’ conversation. It is essential that we open up discussions on all aspects of this project so all the messages from the community can be heard. Working together is the best way to manage what is a very complex issue and importantly, collectively set the tone of discussion across the community,” Mayor Wayne Johnston said.

For the project to progress, an Application for a Planning Scheme Amendment to provide for a prison on the new site would need to be submitted to Council by the State Government.

Click here for more information about the new proposed site