Govt under fire on justice centre plan

Unanimously rejected by the City of Swan at a council meeting last week, the proposal had attracted more than 377 objections.

Questioned by Bassendean MLA David Kelly, Mr Barnett said the facility ‘will go ahead, but we will not proceed with the second one until the first one is completed’.

A second facility is also proposed for Kiara.

At the council meeting on Wednesday, October 15, City of Swan councillor David Lucas said he supported the residents in the area and that he understood their concerns.

The Premier said he understood the residents’ sensitivities but at least half the people in mental health institutions should not be there.

‘In my own electorate I had concerns as the local member several years ago when a centre was established in Mt Claremont,’ he said.

Altone ward resident Yvonne Caldwell said the state government was playing Russian roulette with the community if the facility went ahead.

‘We do not want to be guinea pigs and our questions to Colin Barnett and Helen Morton have gone unanswered and fobbed off to other ministers,’ she said.

Her neighbour Connie Drew said she was concerned that the centre had been incorrectly labelled and was, in fact, a high-security facility that needed to be labelled as a custodial centre.

‘There is a lack of appropriate high risk security if they should play up,’ she said.

Another resident Julie Saunders said she believed the state government had treated the people of Lockridge with contempt over the issue.

Perth MHR Alannah MacTiernan said she was concerned that the proposed justice centre would have a devastating impact on the spirit and reputation of the local community.

‘The Lockridge community has worked hard over the last 20 years to rebuild its reputation after a failure in public policy led to a concentration of social problems in the area,’ she said.

‘Placing what is effectively a prison on Lockridge’s doorstep will undermine all this hard work.’

Ms MacTiernan said the Barnett Government had broken its promise to conduct a credible and transparent process in selecting sites suitable for the proposed justice detention centre.