Anti-jail campaigners to hold protest picnic to fight West Dapto proposal

Dapto residents will host a family picnic day as an antidote the government’s proposal to build a prison near their homes this weekend. 

On Sunday, Residents Against Dapto Jail campaigners say they will celebrate their “proud, positive and united” community, which has come out in force on social media to fight the prison plan.

“This is a chance for us to get together over a barbecue and say thank you to our fellow community members for everything we’ve done to oppose the jail: whether it’s collect petition signatures among friends or colleagues, volunteered at events or written to authorities to express their concerns,” the campaign committee said. 

In April, the NSW Government revealed it had shortlisted a massive parcel of Kembla Grange land for a future jail, which would cater for “maximum through to minimum” security prisoners. 

Residents immediately expressed concern, highlighting that the jail would be across the road from homes in the fast-growing area of West Dapto.

They have argued the planned residential development and the use of industrial land in the area to benefit Port Kembla would bring more jobs than any potential future prison, and that the jail could put these other economic drivers at risk.

Why wouldn’t you build it elsewhere so that you can add to these jobs rather than risk them?,” the committee said.

“There are so many better uses for this land and there are so many better spots for a prison.”

The picnic – which includes a barbecue, entertainment, face painting and an animal farm – will be at Integral Energy Park, on Darkes Road from 10am-3pm.

Residents at a rally over the jail held in May.

Residents at a rally over the jail held in May.