The Tasmanian State Government has handed down a deadline to the Feds: cough up $15 million dollars for the new Burnie Court Complex by the end of February next year. Why? So the Federal Circuit and Family Law Court of Australia can have a permanent home. I’ve written to the Federal Attorney-General to back in this request. I think it makes sense. But I’m frustrated it’s taken so long to get to this point. I was calling for this solution back in June.
When the former Tasmanian Attorney-General was asked about the Federal Circuit having a home in the new Burnie Court earlier this year, she was quoted as saying: “this is the Feds problem, they’ll have to find their own solution.” It’s taken five months for the State Government to get on board with what the community and the legal profession were calling for. Everyone was more interested in playing the political blame game rather than actually solving the problem. So now that we’re on the same page, the Federal Government should grant this funding request. I know the price is a bit steep – $15 million is a lot of money for one courtroom.
But let’s consider the alternative: there isn’t one. Unless the Federal Circuit and Family Law Court of Australia is housed in the new complex, they probably won’t have a permanent home in Burnie at all. If there’s an alternate venue that’s available, has longevity and offers the security the Family Court requires at a cheaper price, I’m open to it.
But they haven’t yet managed to find a suitable building on the North-West Coast that can offer all this.
And if they do end up at home in the Burnie Court Complex, there should be an agreement that the Federal Circuit and Family Law Court can’t be squeezed out of it again. It’s not rocket science that the Family Court should operate out of a courtroom. Let’s hope common sense succeeds.