Queensland Government Media Releases

State Budget boosts new justice initiatives

June 13, 2017

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

State Budget boosts new justice initiatives

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Yvette D’Ath,  says today’s State Budget will fund more job-creating capital works at courts across the State; increase staff in the Director of Public Prosecutions criminal confiscations unit; continue the roll-out of Domestic Violence courts across the State and reintroduce a Drug Court in Queensland.

“The Budget shows the Palaszczuk Government is committed to ensuring our justice system has the resources to ensure timely, effective justice,” Mrs D’Ath said.

Upgrading our courts

“We’re funding $8.5 million of priority courthouse works across the State, where the need is greatest, and a further $7.5 million over two years to repair and redesign the Rockhampton Court House.

“These major projects will generate an estimated 18 jobs on average over two years in construction.

“There’ll also be $31.6 million over five years to expand and upgrade the audio-visual equipment in court houses — improving court efficiency, giving greater flexibility to vulnerable or distant witnesses, and cut the cost of transporting prisoners to and from trials

“There is also funding for an extra four positions in the criminal confiscations unit of the Director of Public Prosecutions to help investigate complex criminal matters.”

The Palaszczuk Government is also expanding the Domestic and Family Violence Court, which was successfully trialled at Southport.

“There’s $20 million in capital works funding over two years to establish Domestic and Family Violence Courts in Beenleigh and Townsville,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“This is part of a $69.5 million package over four years to continue the Domestic and Family Violence Court in Southport, as well as further roll out to Beenleigh and Townsville with circuit courts to Mount Isa and Palm Island.

“This is another example of our Government delivering on our commitment to evidence- based policy.”

Funds for Drug Courts

The Palaszczuk Government is also funding $22.2 million over four years for a Drug Court, based in Brisbane, with referral and support services in Brisbane, Ipswich, Southport and Cairns.

This is part of the Government’s $32.6 million package over four years.

“A Drug Court was a key election commitment of ours, but also recommended by the Sofronoff Parole Board Review,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“The Drug Court was cut by the LNP for ideological reasons alone, with no consideration of evidence, no understanding of the link between addiction and offending or, in fact, any basic understanding of the court.

“We are reintroducing a Drug Court using the best and most cost-effective model for Queensland.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to intervening in these high-risk cases because we know that the best outcome for both the individual and the broader community is to tackle addiction, turn people away from crime and create a safer community for everyone.”

Youth justice

The 2017-2018 Budget also provides a package of $199.6 million over four years to transition 17-year-olds from the adult justice system into the youth justice system.

“For more than 20 years, there has been a lack of resolve in Queensland to take the critical first step in addressing this problem,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“The Palaszczuk Government refused to join that queue of inaction, and now we have a schedule and the specific funding to ensure 17 year olds are dealt with by the youth justice system, as they should be.

“The Opposition fails to acknowledge the overwhelming support, in Queensland and around the world, to transition 17 years olds to the Youth Justice system, and finds itself isolated in its disgraceful stance against this important change.”

The 2017-2018 Budget also includes $7.8 million over two years to continue rolling out the whole-of-government community youth response in Townsville.

“This is part of our broader, comprehensive strategy to address youth crime in Townsville, make young people accountable for their actions, and break the cycle of re-offending,” Mrs D’Ath said.

More support for Dreamworld inquest

“There is also $331,000 for the Dreamworld Coronial Inquest, to provide more resources to identify the cause of last year’s tragic ride accident which killed four people.

“And I can announce the Electoral Commission of Queensland will receive $31.4 million over four years to roll out a new Election Management System. This is an investment in the integrity of our democracy.

“There will also be $1.25 million to inform affected enrolees of their new electorates, announced by the Redistribution Commission in May.”