Victorian government backs courtroom mobility

The Victorian government is dipping into its AU$12 million Technology Innovation Fund to back a program that is aimed at digitising courtroom paperwork and providing a mobile solution for case management and transparency.

Victorian Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips has announced a state government grant to develop and trial a so-called "Court Triage Service" digital system aimed at cutting down on paper-based systems and streamlining court operations.

The government said the Court Triage Service pilot program will allow the workflow system in court to be visible in real time through the use of tablets and display screens, and will let users connect to court proceedings with smartphones. The new system is expected to reduce waiting times, and improve court efficiency while reducing costs.

"The current paper-based system can be inefficient and costly, while delays in court hearings are a challenge for magistrates' courts," said Rich-Phillips in a statement. "This project will develop a new mobile solution that streamlines case management and provides improved transparency around the status of a hearing."

Although the value of the grant has not been made public, it is coming out of the AU$12 million Victorian government Technology Innovation Fund, which was launched in December last year, and is aimed at supporting collaborative projects that harness new and emerging technology.

The pilot project will be led by Portable Studios, in conjunction with the Neighbourhood Justice Centre in Melbourne's Collingwood.

Earlier this week, Rich-Phillips announced a new state government program aimed at assisting in the generation of a potential AU$3.5 billion productivity boost by improving the information and communications technology skills among small and medium-sized business owners.

The new program is among a series of IT-related projects initiated by the Victorian government, with Rich-Phillips this week announcing an agreement with iiNet to build a AU$6.7 million public Wi-Fi network in Melbourne, Ballarat, and Bendigo.