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Bumper justice budget for Queensland

The Queensland State Budget for 2022-23 has included a number of highlights for the legal profession, including significant spending on court physical and technology infrastructure.

There is also a boost for legal assistance, a new office for systems improvement in criminal justice and delivery of the many commitments arising from the ‘Hear Her Voice’ report.

Highlights of interest to lawyers include:

  • $94.3 million over five years to digitise Queensland courts and QCAT and support infrastructure in courts
  • $59.2 million for infrastructure and structural works to Queensland courthouses to improve efficiency, safety and sustainability of the buildings
  • $49.1 million from the ‘Hear Her Voice’ funding for works for the Toowoomba, Cairns, Brisbane, Rockhampton, Maroochydore, Caboolture, Mackay and Ipswich courthouses to improve safety for victims of family and domestic violence attending court
  • $21.4 million over four years for a replacement for the Beaudesert courthouse
  • $76.8 million over four years and an additional $21.2 million ongoing to meet increasing demands in the legal assistance sector, including increasing the fees paid for legal work undertaken by legal aid preferred suppliers
  • $50.2 million over four years for family support and child protection reforms in the justice sector as a part of the $470.4 million ‘Supporting Families, Changing Futures’ initiative
  • $25.5 million over four years to establish and resource a state-wide network of intervention programs for perpetrators of domestic and family violence
  • $28.6 million over four years in general and $21.3 million over four years to Legal Aid Queensland specifically to support the continued enhancement and roll out of specialised domestic and family violence courts as a part of the ‘Hear Her Voice’measures
  • $7.5 million over four years to strengthen casino and gaming regulation
  • $4.9 million over three years for oversight and enforcement of claims farming in personal injuries legislation
  • $11.3 million over four years to continue the Women in Custody program
  • $5 million over four years to the Queensland Human Rights Commission to increase frontline services and $1.9 million over five years to increase base operations
  • $16.3 million over four years for a public education campaign for the prevention of violence against women as a part of the ‘Hear Her Voice’ measures
  • $11.3 million over four years to support youth sexual violence and abuse place-based prevention trials and service delivery
  • $9.3 million over four years for co-design of a strategy to address over-representation of First Nations peoples in the criminal justice system and establishment of the Office of the Chief First Nations Justice Officer as a part of the ‘Hear Her Voice’ measures
  • $3.3 million over three years to enhance the Domestic and Family Violence Death Review process in Queensland as a part of the ‘Hear Her Voice’ measures
  • $5 million over four years and an additional $1.3 million ongoing for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to assist with workload pressures in Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton
  • $4 million over four years and $933,000 ongoing to establish a peak industry body for all specialist domestic and family violence services as a part of the ‘Hear Her Voice’measures
  • $3.7 million over four years and $958,000 ongoing to continue the family pathways model early intervention program to address adolescent-to-parent violence
  • $3.2 million over three years for the Queensland Law Reform Commission to review the objection process for mining leases
  • $250,000 in 2022-23 to develop and implement training for court staff about the nature and impact of domestic and family violence as a part of the ‘Hear Her Voice’ measures
  • $6 million over two years for the establishment of a Criminal Justice Innovation Office to provide expert advice on systemic issues, lead evidence-based policy making and advise government on system priorities
  • $3 million over four years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander domestic and family violence responses as a part of the ‘Hear Her Voice’ measures
  • $2.2 million over four years to review and update the domestic and family violence benchbook for the Magistrates Court as a part of the ‘Hear Her Voice’ measures
  • $16.6 million over four years to trial and evaluate mobile co-responder mobiles to domestic and family violence
  • $2.2 billion over five years for out-of-home care services in response to demand in the child protection system
  • $29.6 million over four years for increased staffing at youth detention centres
  • $78.8 million over four years to continue youth justice reforms, including service responses to reduce offending by high risk offenders and the Mount Isa Transitional Hub for diversion, multi-agency collaborative panels and an investment in family led decision-making
  • $15.5 million over three years to embed respectful relationships education in schools as a part of the ‘Hear Her Voice’ measures
  • $10.1 million over four years to establish the permanent office of the Queensland Small Business Commissioner
  • $12.2 million over four years to support seniors including expanding elder abuse services provided under the Seniors Legal and Support Services program
  • $20.2 million over four years for the Parole Board Queensland to enhance operations and $33.6 million over four years to implement the recommendations of the Queensland Parole System Review Report
  • $8 million over four years for the continued operation of the Crime Statistics and Research Unit.

These measures will be accompanied by two key new taxation measures:

  • Introduction of a scale of increasing coal royalty rates based on average sale price per tonne
  • A payroll tax levy of 0.25% for employers with wages over $10 million to fund mental health services.
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