By Esther Lauaki
Security will be tighter than ever at the Kyneton Law Court following its recent safety overhaul.
The $2 million redevelopment of the heritage building was opened last week.
It includes a new safe interview room, separate waiting spaces and a visual separation barrier in the courtroom to improve the safety of people attending court – particularly victims of family violence. There will also be three security officers present on sitting days to provide entry screening and a roving security presence as well as escorting for vulnerable people when required.
Kyneton courthouse is the earliest surviving courthouse in Victoria. It was established after separation from New South Wales in 1851.
Macedon MP Mary-Anne Thomas said that the works were recommended in the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
“This is the first major redevelopment of this historic courthouse since Ned Kelly was here as a teenager,” Ms Thomas said at the opening last Monday. “These upgrades are part of our government’s work to end family violence and is in response to concerns expressed by our community.”
A new secure connection between the Kyneton police station and the courthouse will ensure the safe movement of people in custody.
The courthouse upgrade also includes new disability access ramps, wider doors, new accessible toilet facilities and a refurbished heritage roof and interior.
Construction began in October last year with hearings moved to Castlemaine.
Attorney-General Martin Pakula said that the works were part of the state government’s $58.1 million investment in court safety and security.