Justice centre scrapped

The State Government announced in June last year that a centre would be built on the site, as well as a centre on Lord Street in Caversham.

The centres would be an alternative to prison and house people with intellectual and cognitive disabilities charged with but not convicted of an offence.

The Caversham site centre is going ahead, with construction expected to start later this year.

But last Monday, Disability Services Minister Helen Morton sent Planning Minister John Day a letter that said the Kiara site was no longer needed for a second centre.

‘There is a high probability that a second disability justice centre the same as the one being built at Caversham will not be required,’ she said.

‘Therefore, I have advised the Minister for Planning that the Altone Road site in Kiara will no longer be required for a disability justice centre.’

Bassendean MLA Dave Kelly said locals were relieved but angry.

‘Relief that the centre next to Lockridge High School will now not go ahead,’ he said.

‘But there is still considerable anger that the Premier is still planning to go ahead with the first centre on Lord Street which is only 350m from Lockridge Primary School.

‘The community will celebrate their win in convincing the Premier to change his mind on the Kiara site, but they will continue to work to have the Lord Street centre also moved.’

Ms Morton said the Disability Services Commission planned to evaluate the operation of the Caversham centre before further steps were taken to create additional capacity for people with intellectual or cognitive disability.

‘The process of evaluation will take place after the disability justice centre and the in-reach program have been operating for a number of years and will inform the future planning for the Disability Justice Service,’ she said.

Mr Kelly said while the Kiara site was vacant there was always the chance of the government ‘dumping’ something there.

‘We would not expect the minister or the Premier to go back on their word; however, I am sure the community will only be confident that the Kiara site, next to Lockridge High School, is fully protected when it is either transferred to the school for use as its Farm School or when housing is
built,’ he said.

‘The campaign will now focus its attention on protecting Lockridge Primary School by having the Lord Street proposed centre either moved or cancelled.’

East Metropolitan Region MLC Alyssa Hayden welcomed the government’s decision, but supported having the Caversham site established and operational before a second site was built.