Rachel Conaghan reports in the Morning Bulletin:
Right now, if you have a family court matter, you could be waiting up to two years to have your time in front of a judge.
But as of next year this will no longer be the case, with the appointment of a Federal Circuit Court Judge to be permanently based in Rockhampton.
Yesterday the Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis QC, travelled to Rockhampton to make the announcement alongside Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and members of the local legal fraternity.
The Federal Circuit Court deals with about 87% of all family law matters in Australia and Mr Brandis said that is a very important jurisdiction because “it deals with people at their most vulnerable”.
“Until now … people who were at a time in their lives which was stressful enough already, had to face a choice of incurring the cost of travelling to Brisbane to have their family law matter dealt with, or suffer the delay of waiting for a Federal Circuit Court Judge to come on circuit from Brisbane or Townsville,” he said.
Ms Landry said the announcement was one of the most significant milestones for CQ’s legal services in almost 40 years.
Months of persistence from Ms Landry paid off, with Senator Brandis praising her for her determination and for “twisting his arm”.
She began lobbying for a judge earlier this year, which led to Mr Brandis travelling to Rockhampton in July to meet with the CQ Law Society who sent him a submission into the issue.
The name of the judge will be announced before they begin early next year.
The judge will be based permanently in Rockhampton, but also service other regional centres including Gladstone, Emerald and Mackay.