City in the dark on justice centres

The State Government plans to build facilities on Lord Street in Lockridge and Altone Road in Kiara to house people with intellectual and cognitive disabilities charged with but not convicted of offences.

Chief executive officer Mike Foley said he was told about the facilities’ locations on May 23 during a confidential conversation with the Disability Service Commission (DSC).

‘This information was not able to be shared with councillors or staff,’ he said.

‘I was instructed I was not to discuss the matter until Disability Services Minister Helen Morton had made a statement.’

He said City of Swan councillors and staff were not made aware of the plans until June 11 when the DSC distributed a letter to residents informing them of the centres.

‘The State Government did not consult with the city in relation to this issue,’ Mr Foley said.

‘When the minister announced plans for disability justice centres in Herne Hill and Kenwick, the City offered to assist in the search for more appropriate locations.

‘However, unfortunately, this offer was not taken up and we were later informed that a decision had been made to locate the centres in Lockridge and Kiara.’

The DSC is expected to lodge a development application for the first centre planned for Lord Street.

Mr Foley said the City asked DSC for the application to include the type of residents, the number and location of staff and operational matters including how issues at the centres would be managed.

‘Feedback on the application will be sought from residents before the matter goes to council,’ he said.

‘However, residents need to be aware that the city will only have the power to make a recommendation to the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC).

‘The WAPC is the determining authority and will make the final decision on whether or not to approve the application.’

– Editorial, page 8