The first stage of a major upgrading of court services for Broome and surrounding regions was officially opened by Assisting Justice Minister Kevin Minson today.
Mr Minson opened the Magistrate's Court building adjacent to the existing courthouse and provided a preview of preliminary plans for a future Broome justice complex.
The new, interim building, situated alongside the existing 1889 courthouse, includes a Magistrate's court and chambers, two interview rooms, two secure cells and a police service security post.
The building was constructed at a cost of about $400,000 and is an interim measure until a permanent justice complex is constructed.
The Minister said the building was part of a package of upgrades to regional courthouses across the State.
"Approval to build a new justice complex in Broome is still some way off but I can say that the Ministry of Justice has worked on some preliminary plans for a modern, functional and attractive complex, built in keeping with the existing, heritage-listed court house," he said.
"Subject to funding, it is hoped the new complex will be up and running around 2001.
"A new justice complex involves the restoration and refurbishment of the existing courthouse and construction of additional buildings on the present site and adjacent property.
"These would include offices for community corrections and juvenile justice as well as space for public facilities and associated support services."
The interim building design was carefully considered and completed in accordance with a Ministry-commissioned conservation plan. It was also approved by the WA Heritage Council.
"The State Government is committed to providing equitable court services across the State and Magistrate Court sittings in Broome was seen as a priority," Mr Minson said.
"Previously, magistrates have frequently had to hold sittings in local council chambers and while the assistance of the Broome Council was much appreciated, the situation was less than satisfactory with insufficient security and a lack of facilities.
"The interim buildings will remedy that situation while the Justice Ministry works on the new justice complex.
"Once complete, the plans will be put before Government and discussed with the local community."
District and Supreme Court sittings will continue to be held in the existing courthouse.
Media contact: Caroline Lacy 015 083 526 Sian Martin, Ministry of Justice, pager 482 4985