Federal Court judge appointed in Rockhampton

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Attorney-General Senator George Brandis QC has appointed Brisbane Judge Anne Demack as a Federal Circuit Court judge based in Rockhampton.

Demack, formerly a Rockhampton local, will be the city’s first ever permanent Federal Circuit Court judge. 

The Queensland Law Society supports the appointment, saying it will reduce delays in access to justice for families in Central Queensland.

“This appointment will improve accessibility and reduce costs for those in Central Queensland requiring court assistance,” said Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts.

“Judge Demack will make an excellent judge for Rockhampton.  She is an experienced and highly regarded practitioner, principally in the area of family law, and she has been very active in Queensland Law Society events, especially our Symposia.”

While the Queensland Law Society welcomes the move, Potts said the existing court infrastructure in Rockhampton is stretched to breaking point.

“The accommodation of the Federal Circuit Court in the current precinct, will clearly lead to security requirements and greater demands on the local registry,” he said.

“Queensland Law Society looks forward to the Federal Government’s announcement of what arrangements will be made for the new judge.”

But the appointment has been met by criticism, Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus calling the appointment ‘unworkable’.

“While Labor welcomes a permanent Federal Circuit Court judge for Rockhampton in principle, the decision to shift Judge Demack from Brisbane ... will leave Queensland's capital city with a further vacancy,” he told The Morning Bulletin.

“Furthermore, there is no infrastructure at the Rockhampton Court House to accommodate a permanent Federal Court judge, making Judge Demack's appointment virtually unworkable.”

According to The Morning Bulletin, Brandis said additional costs would be met from within the Federal Circuit Court's budget.

“This decision has been extremely well received by the people of central Queensland and will save them a great deal in time and delay, particularly in family law matters and family violence and cases involving family violence.”