Detention centre dissent

Disability Services Minister Helen Morton with DSC director-general Ron Chalmers.
Disability Services Minister Helen Morton with DSC director-general Ron Chalmers.

Disability Services Minister Helen Morton announced last month that the facilities would house people with intellectual and cognitive disabilities charged with, but not convicted of, an offence.

Under the plans, Disability Services Commission (DSC) accommodation will be redeveloped on Lord Street at the end of Rosher Road, Lockridge.

A site in Altone Road, Kiara ” currently used for the Lockridge High School agricultural program ” will also be used.

Following community forums with Ms Morton and DSC director-general Ron Chalmers, the CCARP put a petition together opposing the location and close proximity of the facilities to local schools.

CCARP spokeswoman and Lockridge Senior High School P&C member Yvonne Caldwell, who lives in the area, said the group collected more than 4000 signatures within a week. Bassendean MLA Dave Kelly presented the petition to Parliament last week.

He said it was the second largest petition ever presented to the Government but that the Premier had walked out of Parliament as it was presented.

‘If we want him to listen we will have to make some noise,’ he said.

‘People are really angry and we are determined to fight this decision.’

Mr Kelly said Premier Barnett agreed to address a community meeting but a date had not been set.

In response to whether the community’s response would have an impact on the centres developed in the area, Ms Morton said the State Government had made the decision.

‘Detailed information will continue being provided to the community throughout the project to address questions or concerns they may have,’ she said.

‘Construction of the Lord Street centre is anticipated to commence soon and take approximately 18 months to complete.’