Ellendale raises petition
Campaign to move convicted sex offenders goes online
ELLENDALE remains a town divided as debate continues to rage on about the housing of three convicted sex offenders in their community.
The small Central Highlands township has been the focus of a campaign over the past week by locals who are speaking out against the exprisoners being housed by community organisation The Freedom Centre.
An online petition set up yesterday on change.org has already amassed more than 70 signatures speaking out against the housing of the three men.
It comes after a town meeting that was attended by about 20 per cent of Ellendale’s population last Tuesday saw several concerned residents speak out against the housing of the three men.
“If there was a process of community consultation they would have realised the problems they are foisting on the community,” Ellendale resident Tony Donaghy said ahead of the meeting last week.
The three men have since been banned from using the town’s only store and on Saturday the house that the men are living in was attacked by vandals.
Police were called to the property about 11pm after rocks and tomatoes were thrown at the house, resulting in broken windows.
Freedom Centre chairwoman Elizabeth Coleman, a former Tasmanian of the Year nominee, has been giving exprisoners a second chance for more than 10 years.
She said the men, who were in the house when it was attacked, were very distressed.
“One of the men’s families don’t want him there because they’re frightened he’s going to be hurt and I think these people probably want to hurt me too now,” Ms Coleman said.
Central Highlands Council Deputy Mayor Andrew Downie said council had no legal basis to evict the three elderly men but would ‘bring pressure’ for them to move on.
“They didn’t consult the community about it, they just decided to buy the home and put the sex offenders in it,” Cr Downie said.
“There should have been some consultation, [but that] doesn’t mean the community would have been happy with the decision.”
Cr Downie said Ellendale wasn’t appropriate because there was no public transport, except the school bus, and it would affect the community’s sense of security.
Meanwhile, Prisoners Legal Service chairman Greg Barns is urging Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Robin Banks to examine the refusal by a local business to serve the three men.
“They are breaching the Anti-Discrimination Act by refusing to serve people in circumstances where it’s clear there is no rational objection that can be taken to providing service to those individuals,” he said.