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Delivering a Burnie Court for the future and getting police back on the beat

26 August 2021

Elise Archer MP

Attorney General

Minister for Justice

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is delivering on our plan to provide an effective and efficient justice system for the North-West.

As part of the 2021-22 Tasmanian Budget, we are increasing the funding available for the redevelopment of the former University of Tasmania site at Mooreville Road to deliver a contemporary, multidisciplinary court complex for Burnie.

This significantly increased investment will also provide better access to justice for those in the North-West by enabling the long-term continuation of Magistrate and Supreme Court services in Burnie in fit-for-purpose premises.

This increase from $15 million to $40 million will provide upgraded works that will:

  • enable the long‑term continuation of Magistrate and Supreme Court services in Burnie;
  • improve safety and amenity for court users;
  • improve disability access;
  • enable the essential functional requirements of a modern court facility; and
  • ensure that the building is fit‑for‑purpose.

The relocation will ensure minimal interruption to service delivery, ensuring access to an efficient and effective civil and criminal justice system into the future.  At the same time, we remain committed to a two-court model for the North-West region in both Burnie and Devonport.

The fit-out of the new court complex will include modern technology that assists in court operation, while the design will provide up to date court and jury facilities, judicial chambers, spaces suitable for the various aspects of court operation – both civil and criminal jurisdictions - including hearings, case conferences, mediation/conciliation and client meetings, registry/administration and security entrance.

A thorough consultation with stakeholders will ensure that the new facility meets the needs of the courts, court users and, importantly, the community. We have engaged a local Tasmanian architect firm as the design consultants, and further consultation and planning will continue throughout 2021 with a contractor for the construction expected to be appointed in 2022. Community consultation will, as is standard practice, be integral to the planning process for the development application.

Importantly, the 2021-22 Tasmanian Budget provides significant additional funding of $13 million over four years to free up more frontline police in our community so that more police are on the beat, keeping Tasmanians safe.

As outlined in our First 100-Day Plan we have removed police officers from court duties in the North-West and introduced transitional arrangements.

Three new Court Operations Officers have already commenced work this week and will assume responsibility for managing the public in the foyer and gallery areas of the Supreme Court. Retired Police Officers are also being engaged to provide in-dock security and assist Tasmania Police with escorts of people in custody.

While there will need to be some transitional arrangements to ensure a safe and orderly transfer of responsibilities, once the new model is fully operational, the requirement for Tasmania Police to attend the court will be limited to emergency responses as is standard procedure in other courts across the State.

Throughout this process, the Department of Justice has engaged with staff, unions and other stakeholders to ensure they are kept informed and provided with an opportunity to raise issues.

The 2021-22 Tasmanian Budget delivers on our plan to achieve a fair, just and safe Tasmania, forming an important part of our plan to secure Tasmania’s future.