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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Building a stronger justice system across the State

    Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Tuesday, June 08, 2010

    Building a stronger justice system across the State

    A massive court building program supporting thousands of jobs, more frontline staff and better legal aid services for Queenslanders are the focus of this year’s record $1.046 billion justice budget.

    Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations Cameron Dick said the State Budget also included funding boosts for the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC), the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Office of the Adult Guardian and the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

    “The government made the tough decisions so that we could continue to invest in our job-creating building program and better services for Queenslanders,” Mr Dick said today.

    “This budget includes a $330 million capital investment which includes the new District and Supreme Courts complex in Brisbane, which will create nearly 5000 jobs during construction.

    “It also invests in better services such as legal aid and more frontline staff to help Queenslanders in need.”

    Highlights of the 2010-11 justice budget include:

    • A $1.046 billion overall budget for 2010-11 for the Department of Justice and Attorney-General, which also includes the Office of Fair and Safe Work Queensland.
    • $490 million over the next four years for legal aid services, including an allocation from the State of $61 million over this period to provide a more secure funding source and reduce LAQ’s reliance on the Legal Practitioner Interest on Trust Accounts Fund (LPITAF).
    • Capital funding of $330 million for 2010-11, including $290 million to continue construction of the new Supreme and District Courts complex in Brisbane which will create nearly 5000 jobs during construction at an estimated total cost of $600 million.

    “We have a plan to look after Queenslanders in need. This budget helps with additional funds to continually improve our justice system,” Mr Dick said.

    “The government has responded to these pressures by increasing funding to hire new staff, provide more services and deal with matters more quickly.

    “In the current fiscal environment, with the Queensland budget still recovering from the global financial crisis, we need to direct our spending towards the areas of greatest need.

    “This year’s justice budget is focused on expanding the services required by some of the most vulnerable members of our society.”

    Mr Dick said the funding for Legal Aid Queensland extended the safety net for financially disadvantaged Queenslanders who needed advice and help in criminal, civil and family law matters.
    He said of the $61 million to be provided over four years to reduce Legal Aid Queensland’s reliance on LPITAF, $10.5 million would be provided in 2010-11.

    “This money will be used to support legal aid services to disadvantaged Queenslanders across the State, as well as funding office upgrades in Brisbane, Caboolture, Mackay and Rockhampton,” Mr Dick said.

    He said the CMC would receive a funding boost, with an extra $1 million a year allocated to target the proceeds of crime and support its other core activities such as misconduct complaints and policy research.

    These extra funds are in addition to the $14 million over five years, announced earlier this year, to allow the CMC to set up a permanent phone-tapping capacity.

    “An additional $460,000 a year has been provided to create five new positions in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions,” Mr Dick said.

    “This will be used to employ an extra Crown prosecutor and legal officer in Ipswich, and legal officers in Brisbane, Beenleigh and Cairns.”

    Mr Dick said the budget also provided an extra $20.3 million over four years to expand the services provided by the Office of the Adult Guardian.

    “This funding will deliver an additional 41 guardians and frontline staff to help the growing number of Queenslanders who are unable to make their own decisions because of accidents, dementia, mental health and other disabilities,” he said.

    “It will also be used to establish a new regional office in Ipswich, upgrade the regional office in Townsville and deliver a guardianship advisory service to families and carers.”

    Mr Dick said QCAT had received a funding boost of $1.5 million a year for extra adjudicators, case managers, support staff and training, primarily to deal with minor civil disputes and guardianship matters.

    “The budget also provides $6.7 million over four years to establish the new sentencing advisory council,” he said.

    “The council will include representatives of the general community, victims of crime, law enforcement agencies and other justice stakeholders. As an independent statutory body, it will boost public confidence in the sentencing process. Its role will be to advise, inform, educate and consult on sentencing matters.”

    Other highlights in the 2010-11 justice budget include:

    • $8 million over four years to fund a new program to improve the workplace health and safety practices at businesses with high accident and injury rates
    • $2 million in 2010-11 for the Murri Court and Queensland Indigenous Alcohol Diversion Program
    • $1.2 million over four years for judicial registrars in Southport and Townsville
    • $1.6 million a year from 2010-11 for grants to non-government organisations providing services to victims of crime (transferred from the Department of Communities).

    Media contact:
    Office of the Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations 3239 3487