Former Councillor Allan McGrath hopes town leaders will do the iconic building justice and lobby for Yass Courthouse repairs

 Casting a critical eye over Yass Courthouse recently, former councillor Allan McGrath noted the building’s facade and fence are in desperate need of repair and a fresh coat of paint.

In May of this year, NSW deputy premier John Barilaro announced the fast-tracking of courthouse upgrades and general maintenance as a $9 million stimulus for local economies, with a focus on awarding construction work to small and medium businesses with priority given to local builders.

“Unfortunately, the iconic Yass courthouse, so badly in need of both paint and maintenance has apparently missed out. Given the clear need, it is difficult to understand how Yass was not included in the program,” Mr McGrath said.

Sixty-two regional courthouses and two correctional centres were identified for stimulus funding, but a spokesperson for the Department of Communities and Justice said Yass missed out because works could not begin immediately.

“Projects were selected on the basis that work could begin immediately and be completed by the 30 June 2020. Yass Courthouse is not included in the list on that basis.”

The Yass Valley Times inquired as to how courthouses were selected and by whom.

“The maintenance needs of NSW courthouses are assessed and monitored by the Department’s maintenance contractors. Minor capital works must be prioritised against the needs of other courthouses across the state,” the spokesperson responded.

Local legal staff confirm the building hasn’t seen a lick of paint in the past two decades and it raised further questions yet to be answered as to why other courthouses were considered ready, and Yass was not. Local painters, cleaners and builders could all have benefited if Yass had made the cut.

The Yass Valley Times also questioned how much was spent on other courthouses and what the average spend was.

“Project costs ranged from $1,000 to $450,000 for general maintenance such as painting and floor covering replacement with improvements made in fire safety, security and minor structural works. The average spend per Courthouse was approximately $159,000,” the Communities and Justice spokesperson confirmed.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro’s media release leaves no doubt that the program was supposed to cast a wide net.

“Local tradies will begin working on courthouses across the state from Bega to Broken Hill and Wagga Wagga to Wilcannia to deliver the upgrades efficiently and effectively,” John Barilaro is quoted.

Yass Courthouse is an impressive example of the Victorian Free Classical style and was designed by Colonial Architect James Barnet and opened in 1880. It was built at the cost of 15,000 pounds and replaced an earlier courthouse built in 1847.

Courthouse appearance ‘criminal.’ Chipped with paint peeling away and dark stains abound.

Mr McGrath hopes local leaders will do the building justice and lobby the state government to help.

“Perhaps it is opportune for our council to make some substantive representations through our local member Wendy Tuckerman to have the maintenance needs of one of our architectural landmark buildings properly addressed.”

The courthouses and correctional centres across NSW which received upgrades as part of the $9 million regional stimulus package:

  1. Albury Courthouse
  2. Armidale Courthouse
  3. Ballina Courthouse
  4. Batemans Bay Courthouse
  5. Bathurst Courthouse
  6. Bathurst Correctional Centre
  7. Bega Courthouse
  8. Belmont Courthouse
  9. Boggabilla Courthouse
  10. Bourke Courthouse
  11. Brewarrina Courthouse
  12. Broadmeadow Children’s Court
  13. Broken Hill Courthouse
  14. Byron Bay Courthouse
  15. Casino Courthouse
  16. Cessnock Courthouse
  17. Cobar Courthouse
  18. Coffs Harbour Courthouse
  19. Cooma Courthouse
  20. Coonamble Courthouse
  21. Cowra Courthouse
  22. Deniliquin Courthouse
  23. Dubbo Courthouse
  24. East Maitland Courthouse
  25. Forster Courthouse
  26. Goulburn
  27. Gilgandra Courthouse
  28. Griffith Courthouse
  29. Gunnedah Courthouse
  30. Inverell Courthouse
  31. Katoomba Courthouse
  32. Kempsey Courthouse
  33. Lismore Courthouse
  34. Lithgow Courthouse
  35. Mannus Residence
  36. Milton Courthouse
  37. Moama Courthouse
  38. Moss Vale Courthouse
  39. Mudgee Courthouse
  40. Muswellbrook Courthouse
  41. Narrabri Courthouse
  42. Narromine Courthouse
  43. Nowra Courthouse
  44. Nyngan Courthouse
  45. Orange Courthouse
  46. Parkes Courthouse
  47. Peak Hill Courthouse
  48. Picton Courthouse
  49. Port Kembla Courthouse
  50. Port Macquarie Courthouse
  51. Raymond Terrace Courthouse
  52. Singleton Courthouse
  53. Tamworth Courthouse
  54. Toronto Courthouse
  55. Tumut Courthouse
  56. Tweed Heads Courthouse
  57. Wagga Wagga Old Post Office Registry
  58. Walgett Courthouse
  59. Warren Courthouse
  60. Wellington Courthouse
  61. Wentworth Courthouse
  62. Wilcannia Courthouse
  63. Young Courthouse