The Federal Circuit Court of Australia has opened Central Queensland’s newly minted Rockhampton Commonwealth Courts of Law building.
The opening of the Commonwealth Government funded complex comes more than five years after the appointment of permanent Federal Circuit Court judge to sit in the Central Queensland (CQ) region.
Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia Will Alstergren on Tuesday (April 28) said the CQ registry would provide a purpose-built and stand-alone premises for people in the Rockhampton community who need assistance in resolving their family law disputes.
The legal fraternity warmly welcomed the full-time appointment of Federal Circuit Court judge Anne Demack to Rockhampton in February 2016, however, the announcement by then Federal Attorney-General George Brandis raised security concerns as they looked to establish the court within the already stretched state court premises.
The Federal Government provided $2.6 million funding as part of the October 2020 Budget to enable this long-term project to come to fruition which involved the relocation of the registry, and refurbishment and construction works, to ensure the new premises are fit for purpose.
Chief Justice Alstergren said: “This new Court building finally provides a proper premises for one of the Court’s most experienced Judges, Judge Demack, who has served the Court for over 12 years and has a long-standing commitment to the Rockhampton community.’’
“The Court is thankful to the local and state courts for their cooperation over many years.’’
He said the new premises opening comes during the Court’s ongoing campaign to address safety of children and vulnerable parties.
“The prevalence of family violence in our society remains a national disgrace,’’ Chief Justice Alstergren said.
“The fact that one woman is killed every nine days, one child is killed every 14 days and one man is killed every 29 days as a result of domestic violence – is horrific.
“When one adds to this the countless thousands of other victims who are physically and emotionally injured – these statistics are totally unacceptable. It is vital that we as a community do everything we can to eradicate family violence from our society.”
Last week, the Court announced the latest round of training for judges, registrars and family consultants in the identification of coercive control and other patterns of family violence.
This is one of many family-violence focused initiatives currently underway, including; the harmonised Notice of child abuse, family violence or risk, the ground-breaking Lighthouse Project, National Judicial College of Australia training, small claims property list (PPP500), co-location of police and departmental families and communities personnel in court registries, and the COVID-19 list.
Underpinning all family violence related initiatives is the Courts’ Family Violence Best Practice Principles and the Family Violence Plan.