MONEY spent on running the disability justice centre in Caversham will be better spent going towards the successful prison in-reach program, Bassendean MLA Dave Kelly says.
The 2015-16 State Budget showed the Lord Street facility would cost $8.47 million to build and $3.9 million to operate annually.
Disability Services Minister Helen Morton said the running cost funded the centre and supported existing prison in-reach and prevention-diversion services that had run for seven years.
“These services complement the centre’s operational model and will support people with disability in the justice system statewide, some of whom will continue to receive support once they move back to community living from the centre,” Ms Morton said.
“The in-reach service aims to enhance the rehabilitation and potential community reintegration process for people with disability by tailoring specific programs and supports to meet their individual needs.
“The functions of the prison in-reach service and the disability justice centre are not interchangeable.”
Mr Kelly said a better use of taxpayers’ money would be for the State Government to focus on the prison in-reach service for people with a disability who are in prison, rather than the centre.
“This is already proving to be successful and I think should be encouraged,” he said.
“Local residents are not opposed to disability justice centres provided they are built in appropriate locations. For two years, we have been saying the Lord Street site is not an acceptable location and now that we see the size of the building, its proximity to the road and the size of the front fence, our concerns are reinforced.”
Local resident Karen Mercer said now that the building was there, she could see “how imposing” it would be for the community.
“It dominates the whole area,” Ms Mercer said.
Ms Morton said the Labor Party had never indicated it was ALP policy to close the facility.