SE­CU­RITY OF­FI­CERS PA­TROL OUR COURT

The Riverine Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By IVY WISE

COURT se­cu­rity of­fi­cers are ex­pected to start patrolling Echuca Mag­is­trates Court in De­cem­ber as part of a ma­jor safety over­haul.

It comes af­ter sev­eral safety con­cerns and brawls at the court­house, the most re­cent be­ing a ght out­side the build­ing ear­lier this month.

In State Par­lia­ment re­cently, the Na­tion­als leader and Mem­ber for Mur­ray Plains Peter Walsh slammed the gov­ern­ment for its fail­ure to de­liver on key rec­om­men­da­tions from the Royal Com­mis­sion into Fam­ily Vi­o­lence. Mr Walsh said on May 2 last year, At­tor­ney Gen­eral Martin Pakula came to Echuca to an­nounce his gov­ern­ment would pro­vide $1.1 mil­lion to make the Echuca court­house safer. Mr Pakula said the re­fur­bish­ment would de­liver on key rec­om­men­da­tions of the Royal Com­mis­sion which in­cluded sep­a­rate court ac­cess, safe wait­ing rooms and safe in­ter­view rooms, new court se­cu­rity of­fi­cers (CSOs) to pro­vide rov­ing pa­trols and es­cort ser­vices for vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple and a new walk-through me­tal de­tec­tor. “It is com­pletely un­ac­cept­able that 18 months has passed and not one safety mea­sure has been put into place at the Echuca court­house,” Mr Walsh said.

“In the mean­time, fam­ily vi­o­lence crime has con­tin­ued to spi­ral in Cam­paspe Shire and vi­o­lent out­bursts at or in the vicin­ity of the court­house con­tinue to oc­cur.

“I chal­lenge the At­tor­ney Gen­eral to hon­our his obli­ga­tions un­der the Royal Com­mis­sion into Fam­ily Vi­o­lence and to im­me­di­ately take steps to de­liver on his prom­ise made to the peo­ple of Echuca.”

Court Ser­vices Vic­to­ria (CSV) chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Brian Steven­son said CSV pro­vided a pro­posal to Cam­paspe Shire in May this year which sub­stan­tially ad­dressed the safety and se­cu­rity con­cerns.

“CSOs and screen­ing equip­ment will be de­ployed to Echuca Mag­is­trates Court as part of CSV’s roll­out of a new court se­cu­rity model,” he said.

“When fully im­ple­mented, the new court se­cu­rity model will en­sure all Vic­to­rian court and tri­bunal lo­ca­tions have se­cu­rity staff and screen­ing equip­ment present on court sit­ting days.”

NA­TION­ALS Mem­ber for North­ern Vic­to­ria Luke O'Sul­li­van will vote against the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment’s as­sisted dy­ing leg­is­la­tion.

Mr O’Sul­li­van said he came to the de­ci­sion af­ter many con­ver­sa­tions with mem­bers of the health com­mu­nity and the pub­lic.

“While I am fun­da­men­tally not against the con­cept of vol­un­tary dy­ing, the devil is in the de­tail of the bill pre­sented to Par­lia­ment,” he said.

“There are sim­ply too many ques­tions with not enough an­swers and I don’t trust the An­drews Gov­ern­ment to fill the gaps on these unan­swered ques­tions.

“I find it as­tound­ing that Nem­bu­tal, which is the drug typ­i­cally used for vol­un­tary dy­ing, has not been fa­cil­i­tated to be made avail­able in Vic­to­ria by the An­drews Gov­ern­ment.”

Mr O’Sul­li­van said there were too many doubts for him to be able to sup­port the bill, but has spo­ken in sup­port of the Lib­eral Na­tion­als pal­lia­tive care pol­icy.

“We should put more fo­cus on im­prov­ing pal­lia­tive care. The Lib­eral Na­tion­als have put forth a pal­lia­tive care pol­icy, which would in­clude a $140 mil­lion com­mit­ment to help pro­vide pal­lia­tive care sup­port for up to another 8000 Vic­to­ri­ans,” he said.

“These de­ci­sions are al­ways dif­fi­cult and take a great deal of thought and re­flec­tion. But I am sat­is­fied that I am mak­ing the right choice.

“I hope that Vic­to­ria can strive towards im­prov­ing pal­lia­tive care pol­icy in­stead of back­ing the as­sisted dy­ing bill.”

Luke O’Sul­li­van is op­posed to the pro­posal.

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