Mackay Court House.
Mackay Court House. Peter Holt

The real issue at court: Mackay can't attract Magistrates

MACKAY cannot attract interest from any of the state's 88 full-time magistrates in presiding over court proceedings in the city.

The lack of interest in moving to Mackay among existing magistrates has led to Chief Magistrate Ray Rinaudo asking Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath to appoint one.

The decision is expected to be made this week.

Magistrates must complete two years of regional service before they can apply for a transfer to the south-east corner.

But the lack of interest magistrates have shown for the Mackay jurisdiction has resulted in appointments in other jurisdictions being held up.

A spokesperson for the Chief Magistrate confirmed no interest had been shown in Mackay when expressions of interest closed last week.

She said other locations in the latest round of expressions of interest included Cairns, Innisfail, Bowen, Maroochydore, Redcliffe, Brisbane and Southport.

"The Chief Magistrate has to undertake a complex internal round of offering vacancies to current magistrates before new ones can be appointed," they said.

"Once this round of transfers are made, a number of consequential vacancies will arise, and they in turn will need to be advertised and filled.

"Once that is done the Chief Magistrate will ask the Attorney-General to appoint to the final vacancies as necessary.

"The Chief Magistrate is completely satisfied that the process is continuing as necessary and thanks the Attorney-General for her continued co-operation."

Mackay District Law Association president Kane Williams said he was surprised and disappointed to learn the city could not attract a magistrate who wanted to preside over the jurisdiction.

"Mackay is a great city and on its doorstep is the Great Barrier Reef," he said.

"The legal fraternity would welcome the appointment and looks forward to learning who our new magistrate will be."

There are three full-time magistrate vacancies to be filled across the state with a further three appointments to be made in the coming months.


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