The State Labor Government’s action in removing two of three District Courts from Penrith to Parramatta showed contempt for Penrith’s importance as a regional commercial, legal and family oriented centre in western Sydney, Shadow Attorney General and Shadow Justice Minister, Greg Smith SC and Liberal Candidate for Penrith Stuart Ayres said today.
“The insult is continued by the Keneally Labor Government’s recent decision to transfer a dozen or so Court transcription staff from Penrith to Parramatta,” Mr Smith said.
“Previous Attorney General, Bob Debus had assured local lawyers there would be no reduction in the Penrith Court, but Attorney General Hatzistergos has ignored the Penrith City Council, witnesses, Police, defence lawyers, shop keepers and others who pleaded for the Courts to remain at Penrith,” he said.
“This wasteful State Labor Government had previously spent large sums of money upgrading the Annexe to Penrith Court, creating 3 additional Local Courts.
“Shortly before the transfer of the Courts, expensive video link equipment was installed in one of the District Courts, mainly for use in child sexual offences trials. With only one District Court remaining to deal with shorter trials and short matters, it is understood there is little use of this equipment.
“Labor’s years of waste and mismanagement is hurting the local legal profession,” Mr Smith said.
Mr Ayres said the loss of the courts and transcription service is a blow to the Penrith legal profession and the local economy.
“The level of consultation was totally inadequate, unfortunately a striking feature of the Keneally Labor Government,” Mr Ayres said.
“Labor’s decision to close the Penrith District courts has hurt local business and grossly inconvenienced people who are now required to travel to Parramatta District Court.
“Yet again Penrith residents and businesses were ignored by Labor,” Mr Ayres said.
“If elected to Government, the NSW Liberals & Nationals will carefully review Labor’s arrogant decision” Mr Smith said.