ATTORNEY-GENERAL REOPENS HEIDELBERG COURT
Attorney-General Martin Pakula has unveiled the redeveloped Heidelberg Court complex after it was significantly damaged by flooding 18 months ago.
The $7 million redevelopment includes new facilities to provide a safer environment for victims of family violence as well as general court users.
New features include separate waiting areas for applicants and respondents in intervention order matters, a remote witness waiting room, and screening installed in one courtroom to visually separate parties when required.
New glass docks also have increased security for Corrections Victoria and Victoria Police staff.
Video conference facilities have been upgraded to allow prisoners to have their cases heard via an audio-visual link if they are not required to appear in person before the court.
The court’s redesigned front entrance has improved security screening processes, increasing the safety of staff and the public. The main stairwell has also been relocated to provide for safe waiting areas.
A Koori space has also been created on the lower ground floor to be used as a meeting and discussion room, and disability access improved with a new ramp leading into the building.
The flooding occurred in February 2015 and was caused by a ruptured water main in the front garden outside the court. Water and mud flowed into the lower ground floor, badly damaging five of seven courtrooms.
The extensive damage required the court to close to the public and all cases were diverted to other courts. The court will be open from next Monday, 25 July.
Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Martin Pakula
“It is extremely pleasing that after nearly 18 months of disruption, Victorians with cases at the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court no longer need to travel to other places to have their matters heard.”
“The redevelopment also includes a number of features that deliver on key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.”
“Separate waiting rooms and improved security throughout the court mean that vulnerable people, especially those caught up in family violence, can attend court in a safe manner, free from threat or intimidation.”