12 June 2024

Justice system an SA budget focus with almost $250m to boost key services

| James Day
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Prison redevelopment

The Yatala Labour Prison will receive an additional 312 high-security beds as part of its redevelopment. Photo: Mossop Construction + Interiors.

Prisons, a firearms register and the Coroners Court will all benefit from the nearly $250 million committed to South Australia’s justice system in the recent State Budget.

This contribution from the 2024-25 budget is predominantly made up of the state’s largest-ever investment to increase beds in two SA prisons.

More than $205 million will be spent, over four years, building and commissioning an additional 104 high-security beds for each of the three new divisions at Yatala Labour Prison. It will bring the total number of beds at the prison to 1158 – increasing its capacity by 37 per cent.

A further $21 million will be spent expanding Adelaide Women’s Prison (AWP) over the next two years. The funding will provide an additional 40 beds, taking the total number at AWP, including its pre-release centre, to 316.

While the AWP upgrade is expected to begin in January, construction on Yatala is expected to begin in August 2025, with units coming online near the end of 2027.

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As for the remaining funds to be contributed, the SA Government has set aside $15 million over the four years in resourcing measures for its justice system.

The state budget has committed:

  • $4.4 million to the Coroners Court for the ongoing appointment of an additional coroner and associated support staff
  • $4.8 million to the Director of Public Prosecutions for addressing matters raised in a review of the Office including streamlining the trial allocation process, and improving staff training and wellbeing
  • $5.8 million for maintenance and upgrades to the Justice Audio Visual Link network used by the Courts Administration Authority, Department for Correctional Services, SA Police, and Attorney-General’s Department
  • $332,000 in additional funding to Crime Stoppers SA to foster safer communities and promote crime awareness and prevention, bringing total government support for the organisation to $300,000 a year.

The state has also contributed $25.3 million over the next four years to support delivery of the National Firearms Register, into which the Commonwealth has already put $11.7 million.

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SA Attorney-General Kyam Maher said he was pleased the government was able to commit more resources to supporting these important functions.

“Crime Stoppers SA does valuable work helping SA Police and raising community awareness of key public safety issues,” Mr Maher said. “This funding will ensure their ongoing work into the future.

“Both the Coroner and the Director of Public Prosecutions do essential work in the justice system – in identifying systemic issues that need to be remedied and in prosecuting those accused of serious crimes.

“The Justice Audio Visual Link is a vital piece of communications infrastructure that helps court matters run smoothly – irrespective of where participants are located.

“Additional funding for maintenance and upgrades will keep this indispensable tool at our disposal to help in the smooth running of the criminal justice system.”

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