Meander Valley Council will lobby the state government to build a Northern prison next to Ashley Detention Centre near Deloraine.
The motion to write to the state government proposing the municipality as a potential prison site passed with no opposition, but councillor Rodney Synfield chose to abstain at a council meeting on Tuesday.
Councillor Tanya King said writing to the state government to express interest early was a proactive approach.
The land next to the detention centre was a “perfect location”, she said.
Councillor Ian Mackenzie, who put the motion forward, said the site would enable detention centre staff to use both facilities and it would help keep employment in the area.
Establishing a Northern prison near Ashley Detention Centre has been a discussion point for decades with a revamp of Tasmania’s prison system, including a $24 million Northern prison, proposed in 1999.
Labor has pledged $40 million to build a new prison in the Northern Tasmania as part of the party’s alternative budget in the lead up to the state election.
Councillor Bob Richardson said the proposed location would put the prison in the centre of the state.
Prisoners could be at opposite ends of the state to their families, friends and colleagues if they were sent down to Risdon Prison, making it difficult for them to visit their loved ones, Cr Richardson said.
Building a Northern prison would be a step to alleviate that issue, he said.
Mayor Craig Perkins said a Northern prison would likely be a lower security correction centre and it could have economic benefits for the municipality.
Questions were raised by Councillor Andrew Connor about whether an adult prison could be built next to a juvenile justice centre.
However, council general manager Martin Gill said any issues would be raised when communication was established with the state government.
Councillor Deb White said while she initially did not support the proposal, it would be a “practical solution”.
She also suggested lobbying for better practice in prisons.
Earlier this year, a motion was moved by McIntyre Independent MLC Greg Hall in the Legislative Council to urge the state government to seriously consider building a Northern correctional centre.
He detailed Risdon Prison’s capacity issues, management conflicts, limited Northern remand facilities and the lack of visitation ‘equity’ for people in the state’s north as reasons for a new prison.