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Labor caves in to Liberal calls for Supreme Court redevelopment

May 14, 2012

Hon Stephen Wade MLC

Shadow Attorney General
Shadow Minister for Justice


Labor caves in to Liberal calls for Supreme Court redevelopment

Labor has finally caved in to calls from the Liberal Opposition and the judiciary to develop a business case on South Australia’s superior courts.

Parliament is due to vote on a Liberal amendment later this month calling on the Government to do a business case. 

“For 10 years Labor has ridiculed the legal sector for this idea - calling it a ‘lawyers Taj Mahal’ - but now even they’ve had to admit the crisis they created,” Shadow Attorney-General Stephen Wade said.

Court facilities have been in such disrepair that former Supreme Court Justice Bleby remarked:

“The home of the highest court in the State is, frankly, a disgrace...The premises are widely acknowledged to be the worst facilities of any superior court in Australia.”

(9 June 2011, Special sitting of the Supreme Court)

“The fact that the Attorney-General is committing about half what he predicted a business case would cost in June 2011 casts doubt on how serious this Labor Government is about the business case,” Mr Wade said.

“The severe underfunding of courts over Labor’s 10 years in Government has led to staggering court backlogs. Attorney-General Rau’s announcement comes amidst cuts to the Courts Administration Authority, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Police, which will exacerbate court backlogs and undermine access to justice,” Mr Wade said.

“Labor needs to do more than promise to look at the court facilities – it needs to commit to an ongoing investment in court facilities and processes.  The Labor Government is merely paying lip-service to the justice system.

“Labor has only ever attempted to deal with the symptoms of the problems in the justice system after 10 years of being in Government. Labor’s poor management has come at the expense of justice,” Mr Wade said.

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