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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 2 Hansard (17 February) . .

Page.. 508..

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Lawder.

MS LAWDER: Attorney, when will Canberrans have a specialised domestic violence court that only deals with domestic violence cases on a weekly basis?

MR CORBELL: We already have a specialised program, called the family violence intervention program, which is a coordinated and linked up service involving our magistrates, domestic violence crisis services, the police, the DPP and other support services designed to provide an integrated response to domestic violence matters as they proceed through our courts. In relation to the establishment of a dedicated court, I refer Ms Lawder to my earlier answer.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Lawder.

MS LAWDER: Attorney, what is the average length of time to have a domestic violence matter heard before the Magistrates Court?

MR CORBELL: That would depend on the complexity and nature of the matter. I do not have any specific statistics immediately to hand, but I am happy to take that element of the question on notice and see whether such statistics can be made available.

I remind Ms Lawder and those opposite that the Assembly has before it a bill right now to deal with urgent applications for domestic violence protection orders and that last year this place unanimously agreed other reforms proposed by the government to strengthen the protection orders regime and, in particular, to ensure that women—or, indeed, victims in general of family violence—who have an interim protection order in place associated with charges against an alleged perpetrator do not now have to go back to the court to seek a permanent order. Instead, that interim order is enduring for the period of the pending trial into those matters. What that means, of course, is that victims of domestic violence do not have to be revictimised by having to come face to face with their alleged offender in the court simply for the purposes of having an interim protection order extended and maintained.

The government is acting in a very strong way in relation to these and a range of other matters. I am grateful for the support of the Assembly to date to see the passage of those laws unanimously, and that will continue to be the approach the government adopts on this very important matter.

Ministerial office—investigation

MR COE: My question is to the Chief Minister. In reference to connections with the CFMEU, on 6 February the Canberra Times reported that Ms Burch's office knew that police had concerns on Thursday, 10 December. It is on the public record that the Chief Minister only discussed these matters with the CPO five days later on 15 February. Chief Minister, were you aware of these concerns prior to your police briefing on 15 December?

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