- McGowan Government has a strong focus on community safety
- Key election commitment delivered with the creation of a Western Australian Office of Crime Statistics and Research unit
- Two additional magistrate positions also established at a cost of $4.2 million
- $21.5 million for Regional Youth Justice Services in the Kimberley and Pilbara
- Co-located Armadale Courthouse and Police Complex underway in new Armadale Police District
The McGowan Government's 2018-19 State Budget has a focus on initiatives to improve justice services and community safety across Western Australia.
WA Office of Crime Statistics and Research
An election commitment, the WA Office of Crime Statistics and Research (WACSAR) unit will take snapshots of crime and justice data at various stages of the criminal justice system.
In collaboration with other areas of the Department of Justice and other agencies, including the WA Police Force, the Department of Treasury and Legal Aid, the system will track and analyse the progress of offenders as they move through the justice system.
Data collated will inform future legislation, crime prevention initiatives and justice investment planning. A range of statistics will be publicly available, however, sensitive information will remain protected.
Through WACSAR, new and enhanced capacities for universities and other research agencies to have better access to data for research purposes, either working in partnership with the department or on agreed projects, will also be developed.
Continuing the McGowan Labor Government's commitment to prudent financial management, the unit's $4.8 million cost over the forward estimates will be funded from within the Department of Justice's existing budget settings.
Two additional magistrates
The McGowan Labor Government will provide $4.2 million over the forward estimates to establish two additional magistrate positions.
These positions will ease demand pressure with criminal matters coming before the Magistrates Court. The McGowan Labor Government recognises that significant increases in time to trial and pending cases since 2011-12 (62 per cent and 38.9 per cent respectively) have placed undue pressure on the criminal justice sector, and these new positions aim to reduce this pressure.
The Chief Magistrate will determine where the two magistrates will ultimately be based.
Supporting young regional people through justice service programs
The State Government will commit $21.5 million from 2018-19 to 2021-22 towards the continuation of the Regional Youth Justice Services strategy in the Kimberley and Pilbara.
The funding will enable diversion and prevention services to continue their efforts at reducing the over-representation of Aboriginal young people in custody.
Contracted youth justice programs, including bail services, will also share in the funding to help keep young people on country.
Collaboration a key to boosting community safety in Perth's east
Improved police operational, custodial and justice facilities will be delivered in Perth's eastern suburbs, as the new Armadale Courthouse and Police Complex completion date has been brought forward.
This important project co-locates police and the courthouse to address the growing demand for police response and justice services in the new Armadale Police District, and will generate hundreds of local jobs. The Armadale Police District is part of the new WA Police Force operational structure.
Design of the Armadale Courthouse and Police Complex is set to get underway within weeks after the completion of the design and accommodation brief.
The new facility will accommodate police under one roof with the courthouse within the Armadale central business district - fostering collaboration and efficiencies, and is expected to be completed by October 2021.
For more 2018-19 State Budget information, visit http://www.ourstatebudget.wa.gov.au
Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley:
"I am pleased the 2018-19 State Budget has a strong focus on law and order initiatives designed to strengthen community safety.
"The creation of a new Western Australian criminal justice statistics and research unit delivers on one of the McGowan Labor Government's key pre-election commitments.
"Based in the Department of Justice, the one-stop-shop model will collate and analyse crime and justice data from agencies including courts, prisons, the WA Police Force, the Department of Treasury, Legal Aid and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
"We want to spend every justice dollar in the areas where it's needed most, and WACSAR will help identify those areas.
"Funding two additional magistrate positions will ensure our State's justice system has the resources required to cater for the cases coming before the Magistrates Court.
"The decision to appoint two new judicial officers was based on a 16 per cent increase in criminal lodgements and a 25 per cent increase in criminal charges over the past four years.
"Under the McGowan Government, justice infrastructure and our State's court system will remain top priorities."
Comments attributed to Police Minister Michelle Roberts:
"I'm particularly pleased this year's Budget has a focus on crime prevention and diversionary programs.
"As a Government, we are committed to making our communities safer and part of that includes aiming to prevent young people from becoming entrenched in criminal behaviour in the first place.
"The new Office of Crime Statistics and Research will also be a valuable tool in helping to develop effective crime prevention strategies in response to emerging crime trends.
"This financial year also sees the implementation of the new police operational structure, which I hope will deliver a much better policing response to the community."
Comments attributed to Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan:
"Our youth justice officers in the Kimberley and Pilbara are faced with significant challenges, not only with the complex young people they manage, but the enormous distances that they must cover.
"This funding will enable their vital work to continue.
"It is not an easy task to try to address the over-representation of young Aboriginal people in custody and to attempt to keep young offenders on country, so I applaud the hard-working and dedicated officers who have taken on this challenge.
"The McGowan Labor Government is committed to doing all it can with tight financial constraints to manage the unacceptable level of offending and detention among young Aboriginal people in the Kimberley and Pilbara.
"It's a highly complex challenge, but one that is worth pursuing."
Attorney General's office - 6552 6800
Police Minister's office - 6552 6900
Corrective Services Minister's office - 6552 6300