Govt axes plans for Kiara centre

The State Government has abandoned its plan to build a centre for intellectually disabled crime suspects in Kiara because of the "high probability" that it will not be needed.

But it will press on with a facility on Lord Street in Caversham, which is set to become WA's first "declared place" for those who must be held indefinitely without a conviction because their impairment means they cannot plead or stand trial.

The Government announced in the middle of last year that disability justice centres would be built at the Caversham site and on Altone Road in Kiara - a decision that was opposed by both the City of Swan and local residents, who have safety concerns.

Disability Services Minister Helen Morton said yesterday that she had advised Planning Minister John Day that the Kiara site would no longer be required for a disability justice centre.

Mrs Morton said the Disability Services Commission would evaluate the operation of the first disability justice centre and the in-reach program in WA's prisons before any steps were taken to create additional capacity for people with intellectual or cognitive disability.

She said the plans for the Caversham centre were progressing well and construction was due to begin in the second half of this year.

"There is a high probability that a second disability justice centre the same as the one being built at Caversham will not be required," Mrs Morton said.

"The process of evaluation will take place after the disability justice centre and the in-reach program have been operating for a number of years and will inform the future planning for the Disability Justice Service."

Bassendean Labor MP Dave Kelly said local residents were relieved by the news but were determined to continue their campaign against the location of the Caversham centre.

"While people are extremely happy that the centre near Lockridge High School has been cancelled, people are still very angry that the one next to the primary school is still going ahead," Mr Kelly said.

The West Australian

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