The Victorian government has caved to public anger and will move its new $288 million juvenile jail further away from homes and closer to a tip.
The 224-bed facility will be moved from Werribee South to Cherry Creek, about two kilometres from the nearest homes.
The new site will be on land acquired from Melbourne Water and Youth Affairs Minister Jenny Mikakos says the jail will be built within the existing timeline and budget.
“We’ve listened to this community,” Ms Mikakos told reporters on Wednesday.
“I would say this is a sign of a healthy democratic process.”
Locals rallied against the prison when it was announced in February and the Wyndham council said it wasn’t consulted until after it was already made public.
The fierce opposition saw the Andrews Labor government, in particular Treasurer and local member Tim Pallas, cop a slump in the polls.
A Galaxy/Herald Sun poll published in late February showed Mr Pallas’ primary vote fell to 29 per cent, half of what he got in the 2014 election.
Mr Pallas said he was “very” relieved a new site had been found.
“Quite frankly I don’t like to see my community feel the angst that clearly they demonstrated over the site’s selection,” he said.
Werribee South was named the preferred location because it was on a register of government surplus land and met criteria.
Wyndham City Mayor Henry Barlow says the new site ticks all the boxes because it was further away from residential areas and tourism areas and not visible from the freeway.
But opposition leader Matthew Guy said it was “a panicked decision from a government lurching from crisis to crisis in our youth detention centres”.
“This facility should be next to an existing adult prison, it should be part of a jail precinct.”