Gold Coast in need of a Supreme Court, says lawyer

04 July 2022 By Jess Feyder
Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is in need of a permanent Supreme Court and other key government services, according to local lawyer Bruce Simmonds.

The population of the Gold Coast is fast growing; the latest census data showed a population of over 625,000, with a growth of almost 70,000 since the census in 2016. The Gold Coast is the sixth-largest city in Australia and is growing at a record rate. It is expected to hit 1 million in the next 10 years. 

Despite campaigns from city leaders and legal professionals, the state government has consistently refused to base a permanent Supreme Court on the Gold Coast. 

Mr Simmonds is the litigation director of Gold Coast-based firm Parker Simmonds Solicitors & Lawyers and regards it as “insulting that Gold Coasters must still go to Brisbane to access core government services”.

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“It means local people have to spend unnecessary extra thousands of dollars in costs to have matters dealt with by the Supreme Court in Brisbane,” he said.

“To date, the government has only allowed temporary sittings for Supreme Court matters on the Gold Coast, which beggars belief when rural centres such as Rockhampton – whose population is barely over 82,000 – warrant a permanent Supreme Court for their area,” Mr Simmonds said.

“There should be a dedicated passport office on the Gold Coast,” he said. Currently, Gold Coasters must go to the passport office in Brisbane, navigate online services or go through Australia Post.

“The Family Court only sits on the Gold Coast on a circuit basis and matters to be heard have to be filed either through the Commonwealth courts portal or at the Brisbane registry. 

“Family Court documents cannot be filed at the Southport Courthouse which in this day and age is simply a disgrace.

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“For legal matters, Southport is the second busiest magistrates’ court in the state and many serious matters are finalised in the Supreme Court in Brisbane. This will only intensify as the region’s population grows.” 

Mr Simmonds believes Gold Coasters are discriminated against for many government services.

“The Palaszczuk government has long taken an arrogant attitude towards the Gold Coast,” Mr Simmonds said. 

“Smaller regional cities including Rockhampton, Cairns and Townsville all have permanent Supreme Courts despite having significantly smaller populations.

Mr Simmonds stated that the mentality towards the Gold Coast seems to be that because Brisbane is only an hour’s drive away, the Gold Coast does not merit key services such as a Supreme Court.

“Our state government needs to get over its 1950s mindset that treats us as just a provincial holiday town,” he said.

Mr Simmonds noted that a permanent Supreme Court is a major cornerstone for future population growth. 

Gold Coast in need of a Supreme Court, says lawyer
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