Published: 27 August 2020

Legislative Council Wednesday 26 August, 2020 


I note the Burnie Court Complex is not fit for purpose and for some time has been inadequate in providing appropriate access to justice and a safe workplace environment for people attending court and those who work in it.
With regard to the recent announcement to relocate the Burnie Court to a more suitable premises -

(1) What consultation was undertaken regarding the proposed relocation to the Mooreville Road site used by the University of Tasmania - UTAS?

(2) Who were the stakeholders engaged in this consultation and when did this consultation occur?

(3) (a) Was refurbishment of the current site, if expansion may have been possible, considered?

(b) If so, what were the costings of refurbishment, including relocation of the current court to an alternative location during the refurbishment period?

(4) What other potential sites were considered?

(5) What costings have been undertaken with regard to the work necessary to refurbish the UTAS buildings, including security?

(6) When will genuine community consultation occur with regard to the Burnie Court Complex refurbishment/relocation, an important and necessary decision?

Mr Dean - Inadequate when I was there in 1997, so it has done well.


Mr President, I thank the member for Murchison for her question.

(1) to (6)

The Tasmanian Government is committed to ensuring all Tasmanians have access to an effective and efficient justice system. Approximately 50 000 Tasmanians rely on access to the courts in Burnie each year alone. The Department of Justice completed extensive background and design work on the redevelopment of the current Burnie Court Complex in Alexander Street. During this investigation and design phases, it was clear the current complex was no longer suitable.

The department then investigated other options, including the possibility of a redeveloped building on existing sites within the Burnie CBD and potential greenfield sites. These options were likely to have resulted in significant disruption to court services and were deemed to be cost prohibitive.

The decision by the University of Tasmania to relocate its Burnie campus from its current Mooreville Road location presented the Government with an exciting opportunity to develop this site into a modern court facility that will serve the Burnie community well into the future. The Tasmanian Government's $15 million investment in the relocation of the Burnie Court Complex will provide better access to justice for those in the north-west and Burnie specifically, and will ensure the new facility meets the needs of the multidisciplinary nature of the courts, all court users and the community well into the future.

The site is already owned by the Crown and will allow a more modern, fit-for-purpose design. It will be serviced from the Burnie CBD and immediate surrounds by public transport; there is also a considerable amount of onsite parking available.

Importantly, it is recognised this relocation development will also ensure minimal interruption to service delivery.

Key stakeholders have already been consulted, including the Department of Education; the courts and the legal profession; UTAS; Burnie City Council through senior officials given council's role as the planning authority; Community Corrections; and relevant unions. A number of these are providing ongoing input to the development. These key stakeholders, including Burnie City Council senior officials, were consulted prior to the Tasmanian Government making its announcement on the relocation. Feedback has been very positive, given this will be a modern, fit-for-purpose complex for judges and magistrates who conduct both civil and criminal matters which will provide a broad range of benefits to all court users. Stakeholders also recognised this will ensure service delivery is maintained in the transition.

The fit-out of the new court complex will include modern technology that assists in court operation, while the design will provide up-to-date court and jurors' facilities, judicial chambers and space suitable for the various aspects of court operation in both civil and criminal jurisdictions, including hearings, case conferences, medication or reconciliation and client meetings, administration and security entrance.

The community should rest assured that individuals who are in custody appearing for matters are always securing transported to and from court, as they currently are.

This court complex will have the same highly secure transfer and holding facilities required to meet these needs, but it should be recognised that this new court complex will service a range of other jurisdictional matters. At this stage, it is anticipated that UTAS will vacate part of the Mooreville Road premises in the second half of 2021, which would allow works on the site to commence and be completed by the end of 2023.

It is important to note that the Burnie City Council will play an important role in any planning assessment that may be required for the new site as the relevant planning authority. As with all infrastructure projects, the Government will ensure the normal planning processes, including consultation, are followed.

In the meantime, design works and pre-planning matters are being worked through and, over the coming months, we will continue to consult with legal and other stakeholders on how to maximise the opportunity with which we are being presented by the availability of this new site.

Community consultation will, as is standard practice, form part of the planning process for the development application.

Burnie Court Complex - Relocation - Community Consultation


The Leader stated there was broad support. There is definitely a need to do something. It seriously needs to be done, but the community had no knowledge of this relocation until it was announced. My question was around community consultation. The Leader is focusing on the planning process. It is a real shame no community consultation was done to at least inform the community about this.

I will put this question on notice to the Leader: what measures will be taken to engage the community ahead of the work starting so that those who live in the vicinity feel like they are included?


Mr President, I thank the member for Murchison for her question.

In response to member for Murchison, you are talking about stakeholders other than the ones that I have named.

Ms Forrest - Yes, the community who live in the area.

Mrs HISCUTT - The Department of Education, courts, legal profession, UTAS and Burnie City Council senior officials, Community Corrections and unions. Do you want to know who else?

Ms Forrest - There is Umina Park, an aged care facility; there is a primary school just over the road; there are a number of residents who live directly adjacent.

Mrs HISCUTT - I ask the member to refine her question.


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