The government says Ashley Youth Detention Centre will remain open, ignoring the main recommendation from an independent report completed in October 2016.
Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma released the report on Monday, saying a recommendation to operate two separate secure youth detention sites in the North and South would cost $36 million.
She said part of the decision to keep Ashley open was due to its value to the Meander Valley community’s economy.
The centre employs between 60 and 66 people and has an average of 10 detainees each year.
The report, by Noetic Solutions, predicted the average could drop as low as six detainees.
The average cost of detainee care is $3562 a day.
The report made four recommendations on the future of youth detention in the state:
- upgrade the existing facility;
- maintain Ashley and construct an additional smaller purpose-built facility (12 beds each);
- build a new for-for-purpose facility (20 beds);
- have two purpose-built detention facilities (12 beds each).
The government decided on the first option, to which it will provide $7.28 million for major redesign and upgrade of the facility.
Greens leader Cassy O'Connor said the government’s decision to keep Ashley open was a cynical move to hold three Liberal seats in Lyons.
Labor’s Josh Willie said the government had sat on the report until the eve of an election.
He said the party would look at evidence around closing the centre and repurposing of the facility.