LABOR justice spokeswoman Lara Giddings says shutting down the Devonport Magistrates Court could put incredible strain on the region’s legal system.
Uncertainty remains over the future of the North-West court, with the government’s refusal to rule out a closure leaving the Devonport City Council in shock.
Ms Giddings echoed the council’s concern, saying closing the court would have a negative knock-on effect.
“The fact is the Burnie Magistrates Court can’t cope with the work they’ve got, let alone the Devonport workload shifting to them,” Ms Giddings said.
“And of course it denies justice to people who live in the further eastern side of the North-West region.
“People have to travel to court, and if you can’t get to Burnie from where you are, and you are delayed getting there, that is delayed justice. Delayed justice clogs up the courts, which increases costs.”
Devonport’s $250 million Living City transformation includes plans to build a new court next to the city’s police station, making way for a large-scale retail development where the courthouse now stands.
The state government has committed to the land handover, but Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin said this week all feasible options of delivering court services in the region were being considered. “It is appropriate that as part of this process we consider what the possibilities are to provide the most efficient, high-quality court services in the North-West,” Dr Goodwin said.
Devonport Mayor Steve Martin told The Examiner that the council never contemplated that making the site available for a retail development could come at the cost of the courthouse.
The council and state government will meet next week to discuss the court’s future.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.