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Australia Plan for Tasmanian prison at Westbury ditched after community complaints

08:26  18 june  2020
08:26  18 june  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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Hundreds of Westbury residents have protested against plans to build a maximum security prison two kilometres north The Tasmanian Government says the 0 million northern prison will be the most secure facility Westbury resident, Heather Donaldson said the community was not kept in the loop.

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a view of a road: A 2019 visualisation of the proposed prison for northern Tasmania. (Supplied: Tasmanian Government) © Provided by ABC NEWS A 2019 visualisation of the proposed prison for northern Tasmania. (Supplied: Tasmanian Government)

The Tasmanian Government has abandoned plans to build a prison at a controversial site in Tasmania's north, instead announcing it intends to construct one further out from the town's centre, following resident complaints about the original plan.

Today, Attorney-General Elise Archer said the Government had "heard the community's concerns" and would build the state's second prison on Birralee Road on a Crown Land site, approximately 5 kilometres away from the town centre.

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Community . See more of Tasmanian Liveable Communities on Facebook. Healthy Tasmania grants focused on reducing smoking, improving health eating and physical activity, and reducing the rates of overweight and obesity in Tasmania .

The original site for the complex, estimated to cost around $270 million to construct, had drawn complaints from some residents, who campaigned against a prison in the small town.

At one meeting, one resident described it as a "David and Goliath battle", adding "we need to remember David won".

The Government's preferred site had gas, water and electricity, which the new site does not, but Ms Archer said the Government would save money on the $270 million project because it "already owns the land".

At today's press conference, Premier Peter Gutwein acknowledged the original plan was "a concern to many people in the community" and described opponents to the plan as being "thankful they've been listened to", adding "whether or not this will satisfy everyone in that group is a matter for them".

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"There will be additional costs, but we are very comfortable to bear [those costs] to take away a number of concerns for many people".

Mr Gutwein said the new site would "provide an opportunity to green up this prison … and we will be looking at grey water solutions, alternative energy solutions."

The Government said a telephone survey of the Westbury postcode area included calls to a random selection of 333 residents.

"Respondents were asked to rate their level of support for the proposal with 39.1 per cent supporting or strongly supporting it and 43.9 per cent either opposing or strongly opposing it, while 17 per cent indicated they felt neutral," the Government said.

"A mail survey was posted to 8,581 households across the Meander Valley Local Government Area with 2,226 surveys returned. Respondents were asked to rate their level of support for the proposal with 50.3 per cent supporting or strongly supporting it, and 36.5 per cent either opposing or strongly opposing it, while 13.2 per cent indicated they felt neutral."

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