Western Australia Attorney General Christian Porter
State Budget 2010-11: Funding Boost For Kimberley Courts
Victor P Taffa
A multi-million-dollar injection of funding into the Kimberley justice system will result in much-needed improvements to Kununurra Court and planning for the redevelopment of the historic Broome Courthouse.
Kununurra’s Courthouse was opened in 1977 and in recent years a transportable building has been based on-site to accommodate growing demand.
The $43 Million allocated to redevelop Kununurra will ensure the complex can meet the future justice needs of the local community.
Construction will begin in 2011 and the facility will include a Magistrates Court, a jury court, facilities for mediation and pre-trial conferences, a remote witness room to allow vulnerable witnesses and children to testify outside the courtroom, separate areas for jurors, victims of crime and witnesses to crime, interview rooms, safe cells located off the courtrooms and modern security monitoring.
Attorney General Christian Porter said the changes would create a better work environment for all court staff and provide a higher standard of service to the general public, especially vulnerable people such as victims of crime and witnesses to crime.
“The current Kununurra facility simply has not been up to standard with no real ability to separate the different users of a court on a daily basis.” Mr. Porter said.
“Ultimately what this means is that jurors, victims of crime, witnesses to crime, members of the public, and families of the victim and accused could realistically be crossing paths in what is already a very stressful environment.”
The Attorney General said $500,000 had also been allocated in the Budget for strategic planning work on the future redevelopment of the historic Broome Courthouse.
“Built in 1889, the Broome Courthouse, a former cable station, is a local landmark and has been a court facility since 1922.” Mr. Porter said.
“The facility faces the same potential issues as the Kununurra Courthouse and it’s important we address these problems and build better facilities for the safety of all court users.”
“The State Government recognises that, if we are serious about reducing crime into the future, we must build the infrastructure and provide the support services regional Western Australia is in desperate need of.”
“The Liberal-National Government has allocated several million dollars in the 2010 Budget towards building infrastructure, improving job opportunities, and increasing access to health, education, family and support services, housing and justice facilities in regional WA.” Mr. Porter said.
“Along with the $43.5 Million commitment for these courthouses in the Kimberley, we have also committed $52.5 Million for a new Carnarvon Police and Justice Complex, $43.4 Million for a new Kalgoorlie Courthouse and $43.9 Million for the expansion of the successful Youth Justice Services into the Pilbara and Kimberley.”