Queensland Law Society

QLS welcomes justice Budget funding, but more money needed to boost judiciary

Date 12 Jun 2018
Contact Tony Keim
Phone 07 3842 5835
Mobile 0488 433 884
Email media@qls.com.au

Queensland’s peak law body has welcomed the myriad justice initiatives announced in the 2018-19 State Budget – in particular the extension of specialist domestic and family violence (DFV) courts, funding to clear criminal prosecution backlogs and youth justice programs.

Queensland Law Society President Ken Taylor said the Queensland Government had delivered funding to a wide range of important justice issues such as additional policing, prosecution, extending of specialist DFV courts in Townsville, Mt Isa and Palm Island and to programs and initiatives to reduce youth detention.

However, Mr Taylor said an absence in a commitment to increased judicial resourcing means will add to the bottleneck in processing matters through the courts and housing accused criminals refused bail pending completion of their matters.

“QLS thinks the Government should be praised for its diverse feast of funding to essential justice programs and initiatives such as DFV courts in north Queensland, 30 staff to clear criminal case increases brought about by additional police funding and juvenile justice reforms.

“However, the Society has campaigned hard for more to be done by both state and federal governments to ensure a other programs and reforms including fast and fair access to justice for all Queenslanders.’’

In 2018-19, the Department of Justice and Attorney-General will contribute to the Queensland Government's priorities to deliver an effective, responsive and efficient justice system by:

  • $8.1M for extending Townsville Specialist Domestic and Family Violence Court to Mount Isa and Palm Island and dealing with both criminal and civil DV matters
  • $5M for 30 staff in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • $6.9M over four years to continue the work of the Sentencing Advisory Council
  • $7.2M over three years to implement an online Blue Card application system
  • $10M to respond to increased workload in the administration of the Queensland Courts
  • Increased financial support to the victims of crime ($11.4M over two years)
  • $4.6M for 44 additional staff at the Director of Child Protection Litigation
  • $2.5M for the Office of the Public Guardian and QCAT to meet increased workload associated with the NDIS rollout
  • $2.3M over four years for the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner to support the operation and administration of the Human Rights Act for Queensland
  • $14M over three years for delivery of recording and transcription services in the Queensland Courts
  • $9.1M over four years to support continued delivery of the Murri Court and to extend Court Link to Southport, Mount Isa and Ipswich
  • Funding for 400 additional police officers across the State and 85 counter-terrorism officers specialists
  • $41M additional funding for work at the Capricornia Correctional Centre to provide a further 84 cells
  • $3.9M expansion of the Supreme Court bail application service to male prisoners
  • $2.8M to improve service delivery for prisoners with a disability or mental illness
  • $9.4M over two years for the expansion of parole and probation services
  • $1M over three years to engage with the community on how traditional Torres Strait Islander child rearing practices can be recognised in law
  • $10.6M over two years for additional positions at two Queensland youth detention centres
  • $11.7M over three years for services and initiatives to reduce the remand of children and young people in custody
  • $20M over two years to support children and young people in care with complex behaviours
  • $3.3M for additional staff in the Office of the Child and Family Solicitor to provide advice to child safety workers on child protection matters
  • Funding to add 12 new beds at the Cleveland Youth Detention Centre and existing work to provide 16 new beds at the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre
  • $2.9M allocated for behavioural programs for domestic violence perpetrators
  • Establishment of a Queensland artificial intelligence hub at the Precinct in Fortitude Valley to develop skills and encourage the use of AI in business
  • An extension of the 50 per cent payroll tax rebate to June 2019 for apprentices and trainees wages
  • Land tax to increase 0.5 per cent for landholdings with a taxable value above $10M
  • Foreign Acquirer Duty to increase to 7 per cent for land acquisitions
  • Motor vehicle duty increasing by 2 per cent on vehicle transfers above $100,000.

Mr Taylor said it was appropriate government spending on justice was up, but more needed to be done in areas such as funding to ensure access to justice for all Queenslanders, more judicial appointments and for new initiatives in the area of domestic and family violence and elder abuse.

ENDS

For further information, please contact Tony Keim on 07 3842 5835, mobile 0488 433 884 or via email, media@qls.com.au.