Ombudsman: youth justice facilities (8.3.2017)

Written on the 23 March 2017

8 March 2017


Statements on reports and papers 

GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)


I am pleased to be able to rise this evening and speak to the Victorian Ombudsman's Report on Youth Justice Facilities at the Grevillea Unit of Barwon Prison, Malmsbury and Parkville: February 2017. I have spoken on this particular report in the past, and I wanted to make a few more comments in relation to some of the issues that are raised in this report but which also have been quite evident in the community in relation to the government's decision about a youth justice facility at Werribee.

Page 9 of the report goes into some detail about the number of youth justice facilities, how much is spent each year on youth justice detention services and how many beds are in the system at the moment. Of course we know that this government has been plagued by very serious incidents and a litany of disasters in the youth justice system, with dozens of riots that have caused so much damage and destruction, and that really they had no choice but to gazette the Grevillea unit at Barwon Prison and move offenders out of the Parkville youth justice centre in November, when those offenders trashed 60 beds and caused absolute chaos and mayhem in that facility. Then of course in Malmsbury they went on to do the same again, and the mass escape in January really highlighted how inadequate the government's response has been in managing this whole situation.

What the government has done in a panic in relation to this situation is it has gone out and just foisted onto the community a facility in Werribee South. This has been of great consternation to the local community, who had absolutely no idea this was going to occur. There was no consultation; there was just an announcement by this very arrogant Andrews government, and of course mayhem has broken loose, with the community still asking many questions about how this decision came about, what the reasoning was for it and what was in the business case.

They are still asking, 'What is in the business case?

Why have you not released the reason your decision was made to build a youth justice facility in Werribee, which is the Treasurer's electorate?'

He is actually the local member but lives in Williamstown, so he does not live in the Werribee community. The local community are very concerned about this, but it does not really matter to the Treasurer, because he is miles away. He will not be anywhere near it because he is down in Williamstown on the beach, just like a few others that have been

Mr Ramsay Like Ocean Grove.

Ms CROZIER Like Ocean Grove, Mr Ramsay. Like the former Deputy Speaker, who has been in Ocean Grove, Mordialloc and goodness knows where else.

Mr Dalidakis I used to have a place in Ocean Grove.

Ms CROZIER So do I. My family lives there, so I know it extremely well. But I want to get back to what I was talking about, which is a very concerning issue for the local community of Werribee, who are still asking many questions. Even Mr Pallas on Monday could not say convincingly that this decision was going to be upheld or going to be continued with. He was all over the place on ABC radio, which reported that the Treasurer could not answer, yes or no, if the government would change the location of the proposed youth detention centre from its 'preferred' location. This has come out on the Facebook page Speak Out! Wyndham's Voice, which has outlined concerns about this. This is a community group that has been, quite frankly, running a campaign against the government on this decision that was foisted upon them.

There are so many questions, and of course we saw the Treasurer run down there with Minister Mikakos a few weeks later to speak to selected members of the community, selected members of the council and other selected stakeholders to try to calm down the situation. However, there are still so many questions to be answered. There are questions the community want answered. They were raised in this meeting actually questions were raised regarding the jobs being promised as a result of the development and regarding the small buffer zone between the facility and existing and future homes in Werribee South and Point Cook, with Point Cook West and Wattle Grove developments being planned for sites 250 metres away from the facility.

All of these matters have not been taken into consideration by the government. The government has been completely arrogant in their decision. They are trying to run backwards on it now

The ACTING PRESIDENT (Mr Finn) Order! The member's time has expired.


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