The NT Government has chosen a site near the Holtze adult prison for its youth justice centre, despite rejecting the site in the past.
After years of delay after a site in Pinelands was first picked, and then rejected after a public outcry, the Government has gone back to Holtze, a location near Palmerston.
The government said seven sites were considered for the development of the new $60 million facility that will replace the existing Don Dale Youth Detention Centre and create more than 300 local jobs during construction.
The Holtze site is located on nearly 15 hectares of vacant Crown Land which has now been rezoned.
The government had previously rejected the Holtze site as being remote from public transport.
The site chosen is a discreet, non-residential location surrounded by dense vegetation, which is suitable for the new Youth Justice Centre for these reasons:
- . Proximity to professional services including police, emergency services and health services
- . Land tenure and ownership - currently vacant Crown Land
- . Land size and accessibility - is a large site that is easily accessible for staff, visitors and service providers
- . Existing usage and zoning - the site has been rezoned to Community Purpose and the surrounding area is free from urban settlement
- . Highly vegetated site with the potential to provide environmental barriers and buffer zones
- . Service availability (i.e. power and water)
The seven sites that were considered include:
- . A greenfield site at Holtze (chosen)
- . An area within the Darwin Correctional Centre site
- . The former Gunn Point Prison farm site
- . A site at Gunn Point Murrumujuk
- . A site in Batchelor near the Batchelor Institute
- . The former Wickham Point Immigration Detention Centre Facility
- . The southern portion of the current Don Dale Youth Detention Centre site in Berrimah
Replacing the existing Don Dale Youth Detention Centre with a new purpose-built Youth Justice Centre is a key recommendation from the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT.
There will be a number of pop-up shops set-up across the Greater Darwin area where the community can seek information about the site identification and assessment process.
Territory Families Minister Dale Wakefield said: "Young people who do the wrong things must face the consequences of their actions, and youth detention is one of those consequences. But we also need to ensure that time spent in detention can be used effectively to get young people back on the right path.
"Our plan to cut crime also includes preventing crime before it happens, this includes new programs under our Back on Track program, which ensures that young people do who the wrong things face tough consequences and the impact of their offending."
Deputy Opposition leader Lia Finocchiaro said for three long years, Territorians have endured a string of bad decisions including the Pinelands site fiasco, only for Government to come back to square one.
"The Pinelands decision cost business owners great stress, time and money fighting the Government for seven months against its ill-conceived decision to relocate Don Dale in the middle of an industrial estate, opposite a residential area," Mrs Finocchiaro said.
"The Opposition has consistently called for the new facility to be built at Holtze near the adult prison, a call which was continuously rebuffed by the Government for being against the Royal Commission Recommendations and would create some sort of "pathway" between the youth detention centre and adult prison."
"Three long years, three monumental backflips being Pinelands, Holtze and no new facility for Alice Springs, and untold dollars have been spent by the Gunner Labor Government to land back where we started."
She said the question of costings for three years of back flipping, and whether youth justice would be given back to Corrections over Territory Families still remain unanswered.
"During a time of economic uncertainty, we don't have the time or money to be spending on three years of indecision," she said.
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