Monday, April 14, 2008

Carpenter's Community Cabinet Courts Kimberley

The WA Premier, Alan Carpenter, has announced a new swimming pool for Fitzroy Crossing and funding for a second magistrate for the Kimberley. This comes as part of the State Community Cabinet visit to Broome this week.

$5.4 million has been allocated for the pool's construction and operating costs. The Premier supported a 'no-school no-pool' policy for stuents, arguing that it is an opportunity, "to not only provide the physical health benefit, the social benefit, but to encourage them to go to school." He also indicated that the government aims to employ and train local indigenous people not only in the construction phase but also in ongoing employment.

At Broome Courthouse the Premier and Jim McGinty, the Attorney General, announced that $700,000 will be spent on a second Kimberley region magistrate and two support staff based in Kununurra. There are also plans to open a new Legal Aid office in Kununurra next year. The Premier said that it was not only a matter of geography but that the workload has gone up because of the government's increased law enforcement in the Kimberley.

When questioned about the backlog caused by lack of jurors, Mr McGinty explained that less than 20% of those summoned to jury duty in the region turned up. In response the government will spend $40,000 on a campaign to increase that number.

Further announcements about law and order issues are expected this week. There is no doubt that it is a major issue for the State election later this year. Many people will be looking for comprehensive policies from all parties to lower the crime rate and incarceration rate, particularly for indigenous people. Hopefully the attempts to get bi-partisanship on indigenous issues will disappear in the crime and punishment mood of most State campaigns.

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