New Justice Complex soon
THE New South Wales emblem has been emblazoned on Coffs Harbour's new Justice Complex and there have been indications the new courthouse could be operational early in the New Year.
The $74-million development on the corner of Beryl St and the Pacific Hwy will eventually replace the aging Coffs Harbour Courthouse and Police Station in Moonee St.
The five-storey complex will be finished in 2015, but work on the courthouse and sections of the government offices are nearing completion and an official opening may happen in December.
News of the courthouse's relocation came during debate as to whether Coffs Harbour should still host Federal Court of Australia hearings in the existing courthouse next month.
Legal practitioners raised concerns the facilities are inadequate to accommodate large numbers of litigants involved in civil and family court hearings and legal cases, which include bankruptcy, migration, human rights and industrial law matters.
Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court John Pascoe said the Coffs Harbour hearings scheduled to start on November 17 would go ahead.
"Circuits to rural and regional Australia are an essential part of the court's commitment to ensuring access to justice for all Australians," Judge Pascoe said.
"As the court does not have permanent facilities in most circuit locations, accessing suitable court rooms and services can be a problem.
"The court has become aware that some local practitioners have raised concerns that the circuit scheduled for November was to be held in inadequate facilities and which did not have the space to manage a large number of litigants involved in family law disputes.
"In the meantime, the Court remains committed to its November circuit in Coffs Harbour."
The Circuit Judge for Coffs Harbour, Judge Dale Kemp said: "The Court would continue to work with local practitioners to ensure the best outcomes possible for all people who access the service."
PROGRESS: The new Coffs Harbour Courthouse is scheduled to open early in the New Year and the new Police Station will be completed at the site in 2015.