Queensland Government Media Releases

Attorney-General to appoint six new magistrates for Queensland

June 20, 2017

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

Attorney-General to appoint six new magistrates for Queensland

The Palaszczuk Government will fund six new magistrates for Queensland, including two positions for the Southport Court.

At the Gold Coast today, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath announced the new magistrates would include four for the newly rolled-out Specialist Domestic and Violence Courts - two for Southport, one for Townsville and one for Beenleigh. 

“There will also be one new magistrate for the specialist Drug Court, to be reintroduced in Brisbane after being axed by the LNP,” Mrs D’Ath said. 

“In addition, there will also be one new full time magistrate based in Brisbane for the Children’s Court. The Palaszczuk Government is also providing relief funding, equivalent to a full time Magistrate, to support specialist Magistrates in regional areas to do more Children’s Court work. 

“Unlike the LNP, the Palaszczuk Government has allocated new money to fund more magistrates. While in Government, the LNP never allocated new money for more magistrate appointments, except for the Central Coroner, and now the Palaszczuk Government is funding six new magistrates, along with relief funding equivalent to a seventh Magistrate. 

“The Palaszczuk Government has also allocated $69.5 million over three years in the 2017-18 State Budget to make the Southport Specialist Domestic and Family Violence Court permanent, and establish two new specialist courts in Beenleigh and Townsville, with circuits to Mt Isa and Palm Island. 

“The two magistrates who have been sitting at Southport Specialist Domestic and Family Violence Court have been temporary positions filled by an existing Magistrate and an acting Magistrate. 

“The Palaszczuk Government is now adding more full time magistrates to ensure the justice system has enough resources to cater for the cases coming before the Magistrates Court. 

“This means that the two magistrate positions at the Southport Specialist Court will be permanent.” 

Mrs D’Ath said the 2017-18 State Budget delivered on the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to tackling domestic and family violence. 

“Outcomes of the Evaluation of the Specialist Domestic and Family Violence Court Trial in Southport showed that the specialist court had higher ratings of satisfaction by victims, higher levels of self-reported understanding of court outcomes for both victims and perpetrators, and higher perceptions that offenders were being held accountable. 

“The evaluation also recommended that the specialist court continue and that a specialisation approach be rolled out across Queensland. 

“We know the Southport trial saw an increase in the number of cases, which is a sign that victims feel more comfortable in coming forward and that people have confidence in the way the justice system approaches Domestic and Family Violence cases. 

“One of the Palaszczuk Government’s top priorities is tackling Domestic and Family Violence in our community, and this court sets a clear judicial and procedural framework in how to deal with the problem into the future.” 

The roll out of the Specialist Domestic and Family Violence Court to Townsville and Beenleigh will include major capital investment to refurbish these courts. 

This will include incorporating dedicated domestic and family violence court rooms, safety precincts, meeting rooms and a specialist court registry. 

Mrs D’Ath said the new locations were determined by considering which courts handled the highest volume of Domestic and Family Violence matters. 

“Domestic and family violence matters comprise nearly 20 per cent of the overall state-wide workload of the Magistrates Courts,” Mrs D’Ath said. 

“Once fully operational, these specialist courts will help address some 28 per cent of the civil and criminal domestic and family violence matters coming before our Magistrates Courts state-wide.”