The Andrews Labor Government will upgrade the Ararat Magistrates’ Court, improving community safety and delivering on key recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
The $490,000 project is part of the Labor Government’s $58.1 million in funding for the state’s courts in the Victorian Budget 2016/17.
Attorney-General Martin Pakula today visited the court to announce the plans for the upgrade, which will bolster the safety of public spaces in the building by creating separate waiting areas, a safe interview room and updated public amenities.
Screens will be installed in the courtroom to visually separate parties and the Registry area will be upgraded to accommodate external support service staff.
Security officers will also be supplied with handheld wands to improve safety and reduce the risk of prohibited items being brought into the court building.
The officers will also provide roving patrols and escort services for vulnerable people, including women and children who have been victims of family violence.
The Ararat Magistrate’s Court was built in 1866 and the 150-year-old building has remained substantially unchanged internally since a west wing was added to the structure in 1909.
The upgrade works are due for completion in mid-2018.
Quotes attributable to Attorney General Martin Pakula
“It is crucial that when vulnerable people, especially those caught up in family violence, attend court they can do so in a safe manner, free from threat or intimidation.”
“The Andrews Labor Government is keeping Victorians safe, and ensuring that our justice system supports those in our community who are most in need.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford
“Family violence is alarmingly higher in some regional and rural areas, and we know that women in regional Victoria are more likely to experience family violence.
“The refurbishment planned for the Ararat Courthouse will deliver on key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020