IN AN Australian first, Victorians will have a say in the selection of a magistrate for a justice centre to be opened in Melbourne early next year.
The Neighbourhood Justice Centre, to open in Collingwood, will incorporate a multi-jurisdictional court and access to services including general legal information, drug and alcohol counselling, gambling and mental health support, as well as housing, employment, victims support and alternative dispute resolution.
Because of the community based nature of the project, Attorney-General Rob Hulls said it is essential that the community have input in the appointment as well as in the way the centre is to run. “We want community representation on a selection panel that will advise the Government on a suitable magistrate for the centre,” he said.
The magistrate will engage with the community to ensure a strong community partnership, said Hulls. “This person will be able to monitor and influence the progress of offenders, and will be involved in individual case management as part of a multi-disciplinary team,” he said.
The magistrate will be appointed to the court on a permanent basis, dealing with Magistrates’ Court, Children’s Court, Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal matters.
“Importantly, the magistrate will enter the court via the front door, just like everybody else,” said Hulls.