Victoria’s courts crisis to continue under Labor

Liberal Party Victoria

Labor Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes has given Victorians no hope there is any end in sight to the state’s courts crisis.

Victoria has the worst court backlog in the country, as independently confirmed by the Productivity Commission.

11.3 per cent of people are waiting more than two years for trial in the County Court; more than double the next worse state.

30.5 per cent of people are waiting more than a year for a Magistrates’ Court civil claim, compared to just 3.7 per cent in NSW.

Appearing before Parliament’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC), Labor’s Attorney-General offered no hope that these monstrous backlogs would be cut any time soon.

Instead, Ms Symes attempted to defend the bungled “VCAT digital service transformation” project which the budget papers confirm has blown out by 15 months.

The Attorney-General also left the door open to appointing judges and magistrates on short-term contracts, only saying “I’m happy with the current system” when challenged to rule out removing judicial tenure.

Shadow Attorney-General Michael O’Brien said hundreds of thousands of Victorians will continue to be denied justice.

“The Attorney-General today belatedly acknowledged that our courts have unacceptable backlogs. What she did not acknowledge is that Labor has no plan to fix it.

“Victoria’s courts crisis could take a decade to resolve because Labor has no plan to recover or rebuild our justice system after two years of lockdowns.

“The Attorney-General should be fixing the mess that Labor’s lockdowns have caused in our justice system. Instead, she refused to rule out appointing judges on contract when given the opportunity to do so.”

/Public Release. View in full here.