Kevin Hillier says responses to Wyndham’s ‘jail’ are revealing

Photo: Steven Tucker

The one certainty regarding the announcement of the juvenile detention centre was that we would see the true colours of those people elected to represent us on all levels of government. We would see their commitment, allegiances, priorities and character, because that is what this sort of announcement brings to the table.

Some have gone into hiding, some have hidden behind their party political propaganda, some have gone into denial.

I was pleased to see Joanne Ryan take a stance based on her own feelings and that of the people she represents, rather than the political party of which she is a member. The pork barrelling that has been taking place with regard to roads and the like in recent months now looks like little more than a smokescreen to slip this little ‘detention centre’ into the agenda.

Not surprisingly, Daniel Andrews was a no show at the public meeting on Monday night as was the local member Tim Pallas.

Regardless of how this is dressed up in job opportunities and social responsibilities, it is a high security jail, smack bang in the middle of a residential, tourist and business precinct.

I have found the actions of Tim Pallas and Jill Hennessey both disappointing and condescending. Both have expressed that they will talk to the community about the project and explain the benefits. Their non appearance at Monday’s rally said volumes.

I sent each of our councillors a three question email last week. The questions were:

Did you have any prior knowledge of the proposal to locate the youth detention centre in Wyndham?; Are you in favour of the youth detention centre being built in Wyndham?; and what is your number one priority as a councillor?

All bar John Gibbons responded within five days. All 10 opposed the site and said they were totally in the dark regarding the proposal prior to the announcement. The council can’t be faulted in its actions in this. Unfortunately the impact of its actions will probably count for very little in the final scenario.

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