NEW and bigger law courts will be built in Bendigo by 2022 for $152 million at the Bendigo TAFE site if Labor is re-elected, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews announced today.
And the state government will throw it open to the community to provide ideas on how to use the existing courtroom building which were built more than a century ago.
Already, historical groups in Bendigo are lobbying to make the heritage landmark a museum once new courts are built.
The proposed courts will become part of a re-purposing of sections of Bendigo TAFE’s city campus, to become community and commercial space.
Additional buildings for education are to be built at the campus under a separate $60m project announced at this year’s budget.
The proposed court building on the corner of Hargreaves and Mundy streets will be bigger and contain specialised facilities to deal with family violence legal matters.
Rooms will be set over three levels, with eight courtrooms, two hearing rooms and two mediation suites.
Security will include the latest technology used in courts, secure paths and multiple entrances.
Mr Andrews described the project, and reinvestment in Bendigo TAFE, as important.
Liberal Bendigo East candidate Ian Ellis said the investment wouldn’t reduce crime.
He said he couldn’t say if a Liberal Nationals government would honour the commitment, but he would advocate for it if elected.
His Labor opponent, the incumbent Jacinta Allan, said Liberal leader Matthew Guy didn’t visit nor understand Bendigo.
“The premier knows where Bendigo is on the map, he is a regular visitor and unlike the Liberal Party who have made next to no commitments to our city over the course of this election campaign, they can’t find Bendigo on the map,” she said.
“When it comes to Bendigo, the leader of the opposition is the missing Guy, he is never here and he doesn’t understand Bendigo.”