The State Government has commenced planning for the custodial needs of the metropolitan area over the next 100 years, Corrective Services Minister Margaret Quirk said.
“Consistent with general population growth, it is estimated that the prison population may double over the next 30 years, so we will need additional prison accommodation in the metropolitan area, as well as in the regions,” Ms Quirk said.
“With the rapid growth of the metropolitan area, it is important that we start the process to identify a greenfields site now, or there won’t be any land available when we need it.
“The Metropolitan Prison Precinct Site Selection Project seeks to identify a suitable parcel of land that will contain a number of prisons serving different purposes.
“It is important to stress that these will be separate prisons co-located, not a maxi-prison.
“Given the size of Western Australia and the locations from which the prison population is drawn, it will be necessary to maintain a strong regional prison network.
“Media commentary and statements by the Opposition that 8,500 prisoners will be accommodated at the proposed metro precinct site are incorrect. That is the predicted population State wide.
“There will be a large buffer zone between the prison precinct and any adjoining land uses, so it is also incorrect and unnecessarily irresponsible to suggest that the precinct will be located in peoples’ backyards.
“The prisons will be separate entities but will maximise economies of scale for central service and support infrastructure for staff and prisoners, as well as prisoner transport.
“A number of locations are under consideration. It is not appropriate to disclose them at this early stage as this could lead to speculative real estate activity in areas where the proposed precinct may or may not be eventually located. When the Government has settled on a preferred location, an announcement will be made and extensive community consultation undertaken.”
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