A local Justice of the Peace is inviting other JPs to join a project to establish a JP desk in the Snowy Valleys Council area.
Gerry Smith lives in Adelong and said he’s concerned that members of the public don’t always know how to find a JP when they’re needed.
“A seminar is to be arranged to cover the proposal and supporting identification of changes in the role of JP, fellowship of a support group and some training, etc,” said Mr Smith.
He’d also like to see new JPs – especially younger people – signing up.
“Due to the Covid-19 virus, condition and rules, there has been some difficulty in the operation of Justices of the Peace volunteers,” he said.
“For the project of a JPs desk in Tumut, we need to gauge the response of all those interested.”
The proposed JP Desk would operate regularly in the Tumut Library, manned by volunteers, and cover the towns of Tumut, Adelong, Batlow, Tumbarumba, Gundagai, and areas in between.
In 2003, changes were made to the roles and rules relating to JPs, eliminating the lifetime roll and instead requiring JP registrations to be renewed every five years. There were also additional ‘duty of care’ and ethical guidelines put into place. Mr Smith said it can be difficult to find a JP on short notice and he hopes to make the service more accessible for the community.
Snowy Valleys Council CEO Matt Hyde said no formal agreements have yet been made, but he supported the idea in concept.
“We’re happy to facilitate someone being available in the library,” said Mr Hyde.
“The library [is meant to be] a community hub where people can go, and it’s open during business hours and there are areas where you can go and have private conversations.”
Mr Smith has been distributing flyers to local businesses, urging any current or prospective JPs to get in touch with him, to help determine numbers for a training seminar. He said JPs in both Wagga and Albury have expressed interest in attending training seminars, to support the work of their own volunteer desks.
For more information, contact Gerry Smith on 0400 347 897.