Court told to shape up and address concerns

November 01, 2017

Campaspe Shire CEO Jason Russell at White Ribbon Day in Echuca on 25 November 2015.

COURT Services Victoria (CSV) will have to vacate the Echuca courthouse if it does not address safety concerns in the coming weeks.

Campaspe Shire chief executive officer Jason Russell said council moved a motion at the June 2015 meeting to request CSV to carry out works to the court premises and entry area to provide safety to council staff and visitors within a six-month period.

The proposal would separate entry points for court services and council, essentially making it a safer facility.

CSV chief operating officer Brian Stevenson told the Riv its proposal to Campaspe Shire in May this year ‘‘substantially addressed the safety and security concerns’’, but the shire disagreed.

‘‘CSV and council have been collaboratively working together since this time, however final plans submitted in May this year are not to the satisfaction of council and we believe do not adequately address our safety and access concerns,’’ Mr Russell said.

He said a meeting had been scheduled with CSV in coming weeks.

‘‘Unless CSV can present us with plans to adequately address the issues, I will be required to action council’s recommendation of June 2015, which will require CSV to vacate the premises but we hope a satisfactory resolution can be reached before we move to this stage,’’ he said.

Attorney General Martin Pakula said he had been advised CSV ‘‘is working with the Shire of Campaspe to resolve any outstanding issues to ensure the upgrades to the Echuca Magistrates Court meet community expectations’’.

As part of the major safety overhaul, court security officers will start patrolling at Echuca’s courthouse on all court sitting days from December 19.

The $1.1million refurbishment will also include separate court access, safe waiting and interview rooms and a new walk-through metal detector.

It comes after an all-in brawl broke out at the courthouse in April 2015, with several fights erupting at the site since.

The CSV lease of the facility has expired and it is on a month by month arrangement.

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