The Queensland government’s new budget will throw more funding towards desperately needed domestic violence programs and young offenders programs, as well as see the reintroduction of specialist courts if all goes ahead as promised.
Re-introduction of Specialist Courts
$8.7 million has been set aside for the re-introduction of specialist courts in the new budget. The specialist courts to be re-opened include:
The Murri Court
The Special Circumstances Court
The Drug Court
Over the next 4 years court based referrals to Youth Justice Conferencing will also receive a funding boost, with QLD State Treasurer, Curtis Pitt vowing to set aside $23.6 million to re-instate the referral process.
Over 3 years to an estimated cost of $5.5 million, the Sentencing Advisory Council will also be re-introduced. The Council is intended to educate the public on the ins-and-outs of the Justice System in Australia, as well as deal with collating data and statistics regarding sentencing and sentencing structure.
Over the next 4 years, $3 million has been pledged to put into practice recommendations made by the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence Report.
What is the Purpose of the Specialist Courts?
“The reinstatement of specialist courts is an opportunity to divert offenders from prison by providing them with opportunities to address their offending behaviour through intervention,” states Labor’s budget papers.
Michael Fitzgerald, Queensland Law Society President is happy with the outcome as it aligns with the Law Society’s recommendations which were aired during the January election. The Southport Magistrates Court on the Gold Coast will also trial a new Domestic and Family Violence Magistrates Court beginning in September of this year as part of this initiative. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk welcomes the trial and believes it will streamline communications and make things easier for all involved.
"Women are losing continuity; they are getting lost in the legal process. What a specialised domestic violence court will enable women to do is have a one-stop shop where the magistrate will be familiar with their issues. There'll be a continuum of service”, explained Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.