Collie shire council has rejected a bid by the State’s justice department to close the town’s courthouse saying it would unfairly impact already disadvantaged community members. The Department of Justice, Magistrates Court and Tribunals conducted a review on the court services around WA, recommending the Collie courthouse be closed due to its proximity to Bunbury Magistrates Court, as well as low numbers in both criminal and civil lodgements. But access to the Bunbury Courthouse has become more difficult for Collie residents since the town’s only bus service between Bunbury and Collie — run by a commercial provider — was forced to end its service earlier this year. At Tuesday night’s council meeting shire councillors voted unanimously to reject the proposed court closure on the grounds it would have a significant impact on disadvantaged community members. Collie shire president Sarah Stanley told the South Western Times the court’s closure would significantly affect the town’s most vulnerable residents. “Council is strongly opposed to the retraction of any government services in Collie, particularly those needed by the most vulnerable members of our community,” she said. “The lack of adequate public transport and now the threat of loss of the Courthouse would be a severe blow to the state government’s efforts to support the Collie community.” A report to council outlined the need for accessible justice services within the town. “It is the responsibility of the Department of Justice to ensure the provision of fair, safe and accessible justice services to communities in Western Australia,” the report read. “Retention of the Collie Courthouse is essential in maintaining this objective.” The department had identified Collie’s courthouse for closure and informed Collie shire president Sarah Stanley of this intention via correspondence in May. “The MCWA at Collie was identified as a possible court registry for closure due to its proximity to the Bunbury Magistrates Court Registry and the relatively low number of both criminal and civil lodgements at the location, which have remained relatively static for the past 10 years,” the document read. “If the closure of the Court is progressed, any charges previously heard at the location would be dealt with in the general list in Bunbury and would be identified as Bunbury Court charges.” The council will respond to the department to make its objection to the closure official.