Government coughs up $210m to clear legal backlog, funds new police stations

The Victorian government has boosted funding for Victoria’s justice system as it works to clear a backlog of cases that have crippled the state’s courts because of Melbourne’s strict and protracted coronavirus lockdown.

Treasurer Tim Pallas also unveiled programs in Thursday’s budget aimed at early intervention to help at-risk Victorians, but the government acknowledged while funding for such initiatives had increased in recent years, it “remains low” relative to spending on acute services.

Victorian Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes has unveiled a funding boost for courts aimed at clearing a backlog of legal cases.Credit:Eddie Jim

The Restorative Engagement and Redress Scheme for Victoria Police employees who are victims of workplace sexual harassment and sexual assault has received a funding boost, with $15.5 million assigned this year, compared to $3.4 million last year.

The Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants is set to get a further $23.8 million this year and $21.8 million next year, before it plummets to $5.6 million and $5.1 million over the last two years of the four-year forward estimates.

Meanwhile, the government has cut more than $100 million, compared to pre-pandemic levels, from the creative industries, despite the sector being one of the worst hit due to last year’s strict and protracted coronavirus lockdowns.

Although the government had been spruiking its mammoth spending spree on the sector last year, the budget revealed it had only spent $20 million more than it had planned for the 2019-20 budget handed down before the coronavirus pandemic.

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