Tasmanian Legislative Council to consider motion of prison for Northern region

The state’s upper house will be asked to support a push to apply pressure on the government for a Northern prison to be built.

McIntyre independent MLC Greg Hall is expected to move a motion next Tuesday for the Legislative Council to urge the government to seriously consider the proposal.

He listed Risdon Prison’s capacity issues, limited Northern remand facilities, regional rivalries within Risdon, and the tyranny of distance for relatives of prisons as reasons to back a new correctional centre.

Corrections Minister Elise Archer said investigations regarding the feasibility of a new Northern prison were underway but would not be pushed on a deadline.

“We need to do work and we need to investigate this option completely before we comment any further,” she said.

Ms Archer said she would make a decision on the need for a Northern prison once the appropriate figures and analysis had been pulled together.

The Justice Department in June said Tasmania had witnessed a significant increase over a short period of time with the prison population at 589 inmates in May this year, compared to 524 inmates in 2015-16.

A Legislative Council committee in 1999 recommended that funding should be made available to build a Northern prison.