Attorney General Greg Smith and Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser turn the first sod on the Coffs Harbour Justice Complex.
Attorney General Greg Smith and Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser turn the first sod on the Coffs Harbour Justice Complex.

New turn for justice in Coffs Harbour

IT HAS been his focus since first entering parliament and today local MP Andrew Fraser came a little closer to seeing his vision for a new justice centre realised.

The Member for Coffs Harbour joined Attorney-General and Justice Minister Greg Smith for an official sod turning ceremony on the site on the corner of Beryl St and the Pacific Hwy.

The construction of the $74 million police station and courthouse complex is expected to be completed in 2015.

"Within two years this vacant site will accommodate a five-storey courthouse, a two-storey police station and a cells complex, making good on the O'Farrell government's pledge to deliver world class justice facilities to Coffs Harbour," Mr Smith said.

Mr Fraser called in a red letter day for Coffs Harbour confirming that all six subcontractors that have been awarded the project are based on the Mid North Coast.

"The subcontractors will be working on everything from earthworks to electricity, providing a significant boost to the regional economy," Mr Fraser said.

The first stage of the project will involve excavating land for the courthouse basement and concrete piling to provide a solid base for both buildings. 

The secure and technologically advanced courthouse will include two local courts, two district courts, a multipurpose room that could be used for tribunal hearings and mediations, interview and conference rooms and private areas for victims of crime. 

"High definition audio-visual technology will enable the court to determine bail applications made from jails, receive testimony from witnesses in remote locations and take 'in camera' evidence from sexual assault victims," Mr Smith said.

The police station will incorporate state-of-the-art forensic facilities, conference rooms, offices and a fitness area.

Police Minister Michael Gallacher said the new station is critical for local police and would be designed to achieve the equivalent of a five star water and energy rating, based on the National Australian Built Environment Rating System.

"Rainwater will be collected and reused for watering the extensive landscaped areas, while the buildings' air conditioning systems will utilise natural air flow to minimise energy consumption," Mr Gallacher said.

"Natural light will stream through the buildings' façade and the extensive window panelling will give participants in often stressful justice processes an opportunity to enjoy spectacular views of Coffs Harbour."