The Andrews Labor Government today officially opened the $73 million Shepparton Law Courts, giving communities access to more modern court facilities and better access to justice.
The modern five-storey building features six courtrooms, two of which can accommodate juries, and state-of-art facilities for clinical, legal, and voluntary service providers.
The contemporary design implements key recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence with safe waiting areas, enhanced entry screening, and the presence of five security officers at the court.
Remote witness facilities and discrete meeting rooms with direct court access will help support victims, including those impacted by family violence, in addition to a child and family-friendly waiting room.
The multi-jurisdictional court is purpose-built to accommodate hearings of the Supreme, County, Magistrates’ and Children’s Courts, in addition to hearings of the Coroners Court and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
A dedicated Koori Courtroom and Elders Room are also central to the building design and recognise Shepparton’s role in being the first to launch a Victorian Koori Court in 2002.
Local Indigenous artist Kevin Atkinson has created the Koori Court Table to be used in the Koori Courtroom, as well as artwork designs incorporated into features throughout the building.
Stage 1 building works began in April 2016 creating 909 jobs, including 106 positions for apprentices, with more than 30 per cent of subcontractors coming from the Shepparton, Albury and Wodonga areas.
Stage 2 works, including the redevelopment of the 1930s courthouse, are scheduled to begin next month and are expected to be completed by October this year.
Under the refurbishment, the 1930s courthouse will be transformed to support a Specialist Family Violence Court Division.
The first sitting day of the new Shepparton Law Courts will be 3 April 2018.
Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Martin Pakula
“The Shepparton Law Courts is a state-of-the-art building which will transform the way people in the area access justice services, particularly those affected by family violence.”
“This project has created hundreds of jobs in the region and I want to thank everyone for their work and dedication to bring the Shepparton Law Courts to fruition.”
Quote attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp
“This building provides the Hume and Goulburn regions with the most contemporary court building in the state, which is purpose-built to accommodate the needs and experiences of vulnerable witnesses and victims.”