Victorian bail laws to get more onerous

Kaitlyn Offer and Christine McGinn
AAP
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Victorian bail laws to get more onerous

Aggravated carjacking and home invasion will be treated the same as murder and terrorism due to tough new reforms to Victoria's bail system.

Bail laws have been under heavy scrutiny since January's Bourke Street tragedy when a man on bail allegedly drove into crowds, killing six people and injuring dozens more.

On Monday, the state government released its response to a two-part report by Supreme Court Justice Paul Coghlan QC, who has made 37 recommendations to toughen bail laws.

The reforms include a presumption against bail for serious violent, sexual and driving offences, police will get greater remand powers and bail justices will be stopped from considering the most serious cases.

Offenders will have to show exceptional circumstances to get bail for serious offences, Attorney-General Martin Pakula says.

"Aggravated carjacking and aggravated home invasion will be treated the same as murder and terrorism offences for purposes of bail," Mr Pakula told reporters.

The government is also considering a recommendation of creating a specific bail and remand court to run 9am to 10pm, seven days a week.

But opposition leader Matthew Guy says the changes are cosmetic and a "one-strike" bail policy where anyone breaching any bail condition gets locked up is needed for real change.

"There's people who need to be held in remand and the cultural change is they fear the consequence ... at the moment most the of these gangs don't fear the consequence," Mr Guy told reporters.

The changes have the support of Victoria's police union, which says if the response develops unambiguous legislation, it will address a current imbalance.

But criminal barrister and Australian Lawyers Alliance spokesman Greg Barns said the changes will lead to overcrowded prisons, more prison riots, a higher financial cost to tax payers and innocent people behind bars.

"Our major concern is we'll have people where the evidence is weak against them, but they'll still be locked up," he told AAP.

"This is the worst of knee-jerk politics, it will not make for a safer community."

Victoria's remand population has jumped from under 1000 four years ago to 2300, and Mr Pakula acknowledged these reforms would put further pressure on the system.

The cost of the overhaul is unknown, but a bill will be introduced into parliament by the end of the month and a second suite of reforms will be brought in later this year.