Daily Examiner

Sign of the times at court house

THE notices at Grafton Court House, warning the public that staff shortages have led to cuts in services and shorter office hours, may be a sign of things to come.

Since court registrar Chris Darby left on sick leave and a staff position has been left unfilled, staff have been forced to cut services to the public to enable them to provide support to the court system.

Staff have decided to shut the office to the public an hour earlier, at 3pm and have also dropped justice of the peace services on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Acting court registrar Maree Robertson said the decisions were made reluctantly, but were the only realistic way of coping with the workload.

She said the early closure enabled staff to complete paperwork and do the banking.

Ms Robertson said the court had a list of around 400 JPs in the area and anyone who needed their services can select one from the list on the noticeboard in the courthouse.

However, a quick resolution to the problem appears unlikely as the NSW Attorney-General's Department is planning staff cuts across its metropolitan and regional offices.

Today, a representative of the Public Service Association, the union covering courthouse employees, will visit Grafton to discuss staffing levels.

PSA representative Paul Toole said he would be talking with the staff trying to work out staff levels necessary to do the work, and assess the likely staffing levels.

“The amount of work to be done doesn't change, only the number of people available to do changes,” Mr Toole said.

“If staff numbers go down, then services have to be cut,” Mr Toole said.

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