Business chief says government wrong on Westbury

Tasmanian Labor
  • TCCI head urges government to drop Westbury as prison location
  • Peter Gutwein must release social and economic report
  • Time to go back to the drawing board on northern prison
  • The head of Tasmania’s peak business group says the government has got it wrong choosing Westbury as its preferred site for the proposed northern prison.

    Labor Member for Lyons Jen Butler said it’s yet another sign the government needs to abandon Westbury as an option.

    “Michael Bailey, head of the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has told the Meander Valley Gazette that Westbury is not a ‘viable location’, calling on the government to change tack quickly.

    “The Gazette reports he described the process as ‘an absolute failure as far as communication goes’ and said he could ‘understand the Westbury community being really worried about it’.

    “Peter Gutwein’s government has dragged the Westbury community through 18 months of a shambolic and distressing process. All the while, the community has made it clear they will not accept a prison in their town.

    “If the government won’t listen to the people of Westbury, maybe it will pay attention to the business community it claims to represent.”

    Ms Butler said Michael Bailey’s comments come on the heels of the government receiving a social and economic impact report that Peter Gutwein said would inform decision making.

    “Peter Gutwein has been silent on the contents of that report and despite promising to publicly release it, will not say when he will do so.

    “After getting the initial consultation process very badly wrong, the government has dragged out a series of surveys it says will guide its decision on whether to push ahead with Westbury.

    “While Labor supports development of a northern prison, it’s not appropriate to force a decision on a community.

    “Peter Gutwein must know he’s only delaying the inevitable. The government must concede they’re looking in the wrong place and go back to the drawing board.”

    Jen Butler MP

    Labor Member for Lyons

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