Parliament Justice

Members Statement - Echuca Magistrates' Court

29 March 2018

Mr WALSH (Murray Plains) (10:11:09) — I take this opportunity today to again raise the issue of privacy and safety at the Echuca Magistrates Court and the absolute importance of funding for this upgraded project being allocated in this year’s state budget. On 29 April 2016 the Attorney‑General and a member for Northern Victoria Region in the Council, Jaclyn Symes, visited the Echuca court and announced plans for a major redevelopment; $1.1 million to improve community safety and deliver on key recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence was announced. It is completely unsatisfactory that almost two years have now passed and the issues with the Echuca courthouse have not been resolved.

There is a lack of sufficient space in the current courthouse. Victims of family violence have to wait in the foyer or mingle outside the courthouse in close proximity to the perpetrators. The garage to drop off and collect prisoners is not big enough, so when there is a police vehicle in there the door cannot be shut. There is only one entrance and exit to the courthouse for perpetrators and victims, and that is also shared with all the clients that go into the Campaspe shire offices. There are no safe interview rooms as well. I again stress the urgent need for a safe and modern facility for both the clients and the staff of the Echuca courthouse. It is not good enough that this project has not proceeded. One of the key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence is to actually have safe courthouses. Echuca courthouse is not safe. There is not enough money there to do it, and there needs to be more money in the budget.

 

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