Friday, 9 June 2023
Despite having the worst court backlogs in the nation, the Andrews Labor Government’s 2023-24 budget delivers a cut to Victoria’s courts and tribunals.
Budget funding for Court Services Victoria in the current year is $815.8 million, but the figure for 2023-24 is just $820.3 million; a difference of just 0.6 per cent.
With Labor’s budget forecasting inflation of 4.25 per cent, this represents a $30.2 million funding cut to Victoria’s courts in real terms.
The Productivity Commission confirmed that criminal cases in Victoria’s Magistrates Court pending for longer than 12 months number 25,226. By contrast, in New South Wales there are just 6,295 cases – less than 25 per cent of Victoria’s backlog.
This backlog will continue as Labor cuts funding to Victoria’s courts in real terms from 1 July 2023.
Shadow Attorney-General, Michael O’Brien, said that this funding cut will hurt vulnerable Victorians.
“By failing to even keep pace with inflation, Labor has delivered a brutal funding cut to Victoria’s struggling court system,” Mr O’Brien said.
“Every delayed criminal case means that lives are put on hold – for victims, for the accused and for witnesses.
“The Court of Appeal has said that ‘the system of criminal justice in this State is in crisis’ and criminals are getting excessive discounts in sentences as a result.
“VCAT already faces massive backlogs and this funding cut will make it even harder for ordinary Victorians to access justice.
“Under Labor, Victorians already face the worst court backlogs in the nation.
“However, the Attorney-General admitted today that Labor’s budget does not fund one single additional judge or Magistrate.
“By cutting funding from the courts, vulnerable Victorians are being punished for Labor’s economic incompetence.”