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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 10 April 2018) . . Page.. 1175 ..

The ACT’s legislative framework ensures that a transparent, merit-based selection process occurs for new magistrates. Under the framework, the government is required to seek expressions of interest by public notice and to consider applications against a set of performance criteria. The Chief Magistrate must be consulted on possible appointees.

The public set of criteria and the public advertisement process ensure that decisions about appointment are merit-based. The government recognises and values the importance of local views, and we will be seeking nominations from both the Law Society and the Bar Association as part of this process. The government values the input of the local profession and will continue to engage with them in the context of the statutory framework.

MS CHEYNE: Minister, how does the appointment of a new magistrate strengthen the government’s support for access to justice across other parts of the legal system?

MR RAMSAY: I thank Ms Cheyne for the supplementary question. This government takes a whole-system approach to resourcing the justice system. Whenever a decision is made about resourcing one part of our legal system, we must carefully consider any flow-on consequences in other parts of the system.

That is why, in the latest announcement, we are providing additional resources to the Director of Public Prosecutions and Legal Aid ACT. The DPP will receive $987,000 over four years to employ staff to support criminal prosecutions before the new magistrate. Legal Aid ACT will receive an additional $1.3 million for additional staff, also to assist with servicing additional demand before the courts. In last year’s budget we provided $2.477 million over four years to our community legal centres. That funding supports vulnerable people who seek protection from the courts, including women seeking family violence orders.

These resources will help to ensure that matters which come before the new magistrate are supported to achieve just, timely and transparent outcomes, particularly for the most vulnerable members of our community.

Justice and Community Safety Directorate—workplace culture

MR HANSON: My question is to the Attorney-General and it relates to an article in the Canberra Times entitled “Justice directorate staff are concerned about bullying” The article refers to a leaked staff survey which identified “staff concerns about workplace bias, preparedness to speak-up against misconduct and confusion around areas of accountability”. It reveals that the directorate has become a “toxic workplace”, with a “culture of blame and little trust” and “a lack of common purpose”. The report also notes that similar concerns have spread throughout other arms of the justice directorate. Attorney-General, how far have these concerns spread throughout the other arms of the justice directorate?

MR RAMSAY: I thank the member for his question. The 2017 JACS staff survey results provide valuable information on what works well in JACS and it identifies

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