Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon has demanded an urgent replacement judge for the Newcastle registry of the Family Circuit Court, following the exit of Judge Matthew Myers to the Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into Indigenous incarceration in February.
Ms Claydon said Judge Myers’ move leaves the Newcastle Registry of the Federal Circuit Court short a senior judge for the second time in as many years.
“The Federal Circuit Court is still catching up on the backlog of work stemming from the Attorney-General’s long delay in replacing Judge Coakes after his retirement in 2015,” Ms Claydon said.
“Given the heavy caseload in the Newcastle Registry, and the complexities of many of these cases, I am deeply concerned that any further delay in replacing Judge Myers will have serious impacts on our community.”
Ms Claydon said she had written to the Attorney-General more than four weeks ago alerting him to the urgency of the situation.
“I had heard that a replacement judge was imminent, but four weeks on, the Attorney-General still hasn’t replied to my letter, let alone appointed the judge we so desperately need,” Ms Claydon said.
Ms Claydon stressed the importance of securing a full-time judge attached to the Newcastle Registry.
“I am concerned we will end up with a stop-gap series of visiting out-of-town judges because the Attorney-General has fundamentally failed to do his job and fill this critical position in a timely manner,” Ms Claydon said.
“A replacement for Judge Myers must be appointed as a matter of high priority to ensure that Newcastle families and children are not placed at greater risk or caused any further distress.”