Queensland Law Society

State Budget initiatives align with Queensland Law Society’s Call to Parties

Queensland Law Society welcomes legal services and court funding commitments announced in the Queensland 2015-16 State Budget yesterday.

President Michael Fitzgerald says the Society is pleased to see the Government has allocated funds to implement a number of reforms called for by the Society in the run-up to the January election.

Many of the Government’s Budget initiatives are in line with its responses to the Society’s Call to Parties.

“Prior to this year’s election, the Society called for a commitment to reinstate Queensland’s specialist courts, in particular the Murri Court, the Special Circumstances Court and the Drug Court.” Mr Fitzgerald says.

“The Government’s Budget commitment of $32.3 million over four years to reinstate specialist courts and court-based referrals to Youth Justice Conferencing is good news for all Queenslanders.

“Criminal law outcomes have significant impacts on Queenslanders and criminal law reform must be carefully considered. Specialist courts divert offenders from prison by providing them with opportunities to address their offending behaviour through intervention.

“The Murri Court takes into account cultural and other issues, providing a path toward reducing the over-representation of our Indigenous community in the criminal justice system.

“Youth Justice Conferencing provides young people with the opportunity to take responsibility for their criminal behaviour.”

Mr Fitzgerald says the Society also welcomes the commitment, as outlined in the Budget papers, to repeal the amendments made in 2014 to the Youth Justice Act 1992.

“This is also an issue which the Society raised before the election. We are pleased that the Government is to implement the actions outlined in its response to the Society’s Call to Parties.

“The Society also welcomes the additional funding to address the significant issue of domestic violence in response to the Domestic and Family Violence Taskforce Report. The Society has formed a working group to consider a number of initiatives in response to this report.”

Mr Fitzgerald says the reinstatement of the Sentencing Advisory Council addresses the Society’s calls for sentencing reform and an independent body to publish regular analysis of Queensland crime and sentencing data.

“Educating the community about Queensland law, justice matters and the legal system is an important feature of responsible government. Misinformation and misunderstanding can lead to community fears and assumptions which are simply not supported by the facts,” Mr Fitzgerald says.