Family Court will not be relocated
THE Family Court in Lismore will not be moved from its CBD location into the criminal and civil court complex, it was decided yesterday.
After strong opposition from lawyers, the Family Court of Australia revealed it was not moving. Instead it will renew its lease for five years on its Molesworth Street site.
The decision follows lobbying from Lismore lawyers through the Far North Coast Law Society; Jenny Cook, of the Far North Coast Family Law Practitioners Association; and Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin.
Ms Saffin welcomed the decision as being the right one.
She said it would allow the Family Court to continue providing its specialised services in an environment suitable to families and that met the particular needs and req-uirements of Family Law.
Ms Saffin said the decision showed their opposition was listened too. It also followed a Lismore meeting with Attorney-General Robert McClelland on the issue.
“It was opportunistic. We were able to raise the issue with the Attorney-General,” she said.
“It did not make sense to have the Family Court mixed in with the criminal court precinct.”
A Family Court spokesman confirmed that in December last year the Local Court in Lismore invited it to consider the possibility of relocating to its criminal and civil premises.
The spokesman said that as the Family Court’s building lease was about to expire, it was decided the offer was worth considering and further investigation had been done.
Family Court of Australia chief executive officer Richard Foster confirmed the Family Court would not be moving.
“This decision was based on the complexity and uncertainty in terms of cost and timing,” he said.
“In addition, a decision could not be prolonged any further in regard to renewing the lease on the court’s existing premises.”
Far North Coast Law Society vice-president James Fuggle welcomed the decision.
“Local lawyers are very pleased with the result. It makes good sense to leave it where it is,” he said.