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$275M Wyndham Law Courts Funding Fiasco

Wyndham Law Courts Werribee

The state-of-the-art court facility, set to be the largest outside Melbourne's CBD, faces operational delays due to a $19.1 million budget cut affecting Court Services Victoria.

The Allan Labor Government’s handling of finances has drawn criticism, with allegations of incompetence comparable to the satirical “Yes, Minister” series. The $275 million Wyndham Law Court development, set to be completed this year and open at the start of 2025, faces operational delays due to budget cuts.

Court Services Victoria (CSV) has been hit with a $19.1 million budget reduction for 2024-25, resulting in the loss of 50-60 staff members. This was confirmed by CSV CEO Louise Anderson during a session with the State Parliament’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee.

Victorians, already dealing with the nation’s worst court backlogs, now face the prospect of an empty Wyndham Law Court complex until the next financial year. This situation has been cited as evidence of Labor’s financial mismanagement.

The state-of-the-art Wyndham Law Courts, led by Court Services Victoria, is taking shape as the largest court complex outside Melbourne’s central business district. Designed to serve the burgeoning Wyndham area, the facility will consolidate multiple jurisdictions, specialist courts, and essential services.

At the heart of this bespoke structure are 13 courtrooms, four hearing rooms, 26 holding cells, and three mediation suites, tailored to accommodate the needs of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, the Children’s Court of Victoria, and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). Adjacent to the new Werribee Police Station, the courthouse aims to be more than just a legal hub; it aspires to be a community-oriented space.

Upon completion in late 2024, the courthouse was intended to open its doors in March 2025. However, the recent budget cuts mean there will be no funding to operate the new courts until the next financial year, delaying its operational launch.

Shadow Attorney-General Michael O’Brien voiced his concerns, stating, “Victorians already face the worst court backlogs in the country. Delaying the Wyndham Law Courts will force more Victorians to wait even longer for access to justice. Only a Labor government would fund a new court complex without the money to operate it. It is like an episode of ‘Yes, Minister’ – except it isn’t funny.”

O’Brien further criticized Premier Allan’s priorities, noting, “While Victorians in Melbourne’s booming western suburbs are ignored yet again, Premier Allan is determined to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars for her Suburban Rail Loop tunnel vision across town. This farce proves yet again that Labor cannot manage money, cannot manage major projects, and Victorians are left to pay the price.”

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