Friday 24 May 2024

The Allan Labor Government’s budget cuts to Victorian courts will mean further delays for Victorians seeking access to justice.

$77 million worth of cuts was confirmed at today’s hearings of the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC), with a $19.1 million cut in 2024-25 to be followed by a massive $58 million cut in 2027-28.

As a direct result of Labor’s cuts, it was confirmed that the successful County Court Backlog Reduction program has been axed.

Court Services Victoria CEO Louise Anderson also confirmed that 50 to 60 jobs have already been lost with more job losses to come.

A two-year delay to VCAT’s digital transformation program and a dispute with the IT contractor continues to hinder the modernisation of VCAT’s operations.

While the Allan Labor Government claims it is taking action to better protect women from violence, the Attorney-General today admitted that she did not propose to formally respond to the 45 recommendations made two years ago by the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s final report on stalking.

Shadow Attorney-General, Michael O’Brien, said: “Labor cannot manage money and Victorians needing access to justice are paying the price.

“Victoria has the worst court backlogs in the country and what is Labor’s response? Axe the County Court Backlog Reduction program and cut dozens of jobs from court administration.

“Delaying access to justice simply adds insult to injury. Yet that is the effect of Labor’s budget cuts to the justice system.

“Despite initiating a Law Reform Commission inquiry into stalking, Labor is now refusing to even respond to the 45 recommendations that the government has been sitting on for two years. This does not treat victims of stalking with the respect they deserve.”