The Police Association of NSW has joined forces with the Law Society of NSW in calling on the NSW Government to fast-track construction of a new court complex to service the Macarthur region.
The three local courts at Camden, Campbelltown and Picton have been facing an increasing backlog of cases in 2018 as the area struggles to keep up with surging population growth. Secretary of the Police Association of NSW Pat Gooley said these backlogs were absorbing police time that could be better spent responding to and investigating crime.
“Police are tired of having to explain to victims and witnesses why matters are taking so long to come on for trial,” said Gooley. “We join with the Law Society in calling for urgent action to address this issue.”
In March, the Greater Sydney Commission released a draft district plan for Western Sydney, which estimated population in the Macarthur region would grow from 500,000 to 1.02 million in the next 10 years. The 150-page report, presented to the NSW Government by Chief Commissioner Lucy Turnbull and South District Commissioner Morris Iemma, included big plans for transport, health and education infrastructure – but included no plan for the area to build new courts or improve current justice infrastructure.
President of the Law Society of NSW Doug Humphreys said the predicted explosion in the Macarthur population would put even greater pressure on the courts and legal services that were already struggling to cope with demand.
“The three local courts at Camden, Campbelltown and Picton cannot manage the current backlogs in criminal and civil cases,” Humphreys said. “Camden and Picton were built in the 1800s and are no longer fit for purpose. This means victims of crime and residents seeking resolutions to business and family disputes are waiting inordinate amounts of time for justice.”