Lawyers in Wollongong have expressed frustration at the appointment of a Federal Circuit Court judge to Queensland as the New South Wales region struggles with unprecedented demand.
Attorney General George Brandis this week announced the appointment of a new judge in Rockhampton.
The Wollongong District Law Society said Rockhampton had up to 200 fewer family law cases than Wollongong.
Wollongong is the largest single judge registry in Australia, with a backlog of nearly 600 outstanding parenting and property disputes.
But it has no permanent judge to hear the matters and could soon lose its part-time judge.
District Law society family law chairwoman Lorelle Longbottom criticised the latest judicial appointment for central Queensland.
“It’s simply not enough. You’ve still got the families in Wollongong and other regions being neglected who need some resources put into the court system so that they can have their matters resolved,” she said.
“I’m feeling frustrated, still completely frustrated, and disappointed and anxious about what’s going to happen to the families in Wollongong and their cases.”
Ms Longbottom said Wollongong, which also served families from the South Coast and Southern Highlands, deserved its own judge.
“Wollongong has the numbers to back up the case to have a judge full time, rather than a Sydney-based judge being allocated to us three weeks out of every four weeks,” she said.
“All the evidence is there and we just need that appointment to be made.
“In the meantime, if we could just have some appointments in NSW and at least to Sydney, that’s going to provide Wollongong with some assistance.”
By Emily Laurence
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