Government must fund Gold Coast JPs

Shadow Attorney General and Shadow Minister for Justice Ian Walker has called on the Palaszczuk Government to continue to fund the LNP Government’s hugely successful Justice of the Peace (JP) trial.

Mr Walker said in a bizarre move, the Labor Government had lavished praise on the initiative but was still refusing to commit to funding it.

“The success of the trial is indisputable, so I can’t understand why the Palaszczuk Government won’t continue funding it,” he said.

Fast Facts

· Currently, 109 JPs are appointed to QCAT in Brisbane, Ipswich, Maroochydore, Southport and Townsville. They have heard over 6,500 minor civil dispute (MCD) matters since June 2013.

· The overall time to hear all QCAT MCDs has almost halved from 6 weeks to 3.2 weeks and high clearance rates have been maintained in QCAT’s MCD jurisdiction.

· The initial trial was successfully implemented and as of 25 June 2014 has heard 3143 matters. The appeal rate of 2% and complaint rate of 0.8% is equivalent to that of the general QCAT rates.

· The trial is currently funded until 30 June 2015.

Mr Walker said the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal’s (QCAT’s) JP trial had enabled JPs to play a greater role in Queensland’s justice system and helped QCAT reduce backlogs.

“When it comes to common sense policy that delivered real outcomes for Queenslanders, you can’t go past the JP trial initiated by the LNP Government,” he said.

“The cost and time taken to finalise minor civil disputes was significantly reduced, which saw the overall time to hear civil matters almost halve from six weeks to just over three.

“Labor has no reason not to fund the program. The facts speak for themselves.”

Mr Walker said the trial provided JPs with the training and necessary skills to improve administration of the Queensland justice system.

He said the trial had been praised by the Queensland Law Society, Real Estate Institute of Queensland, Queensland Justices Association and Gold Coast Justices Association.

“This is about improving the performance of our justice system, while recognising the voluntary contribution JPs made to the community,” Mr Walker said.

“It makes sense to not only continue the trial but to make it a permanent program.

“The Palaszczuk Government needs to make the right call and continue this successful initiative for Queenslanders.”

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