Judge-only trials will be allowed in Victoria during the coronavirus pandemic under temporary laws to be introduced to state parliament.
Attorney-General Jill Hennessy unveiled the massive omnibus bill on Tuesday, outlining changes to the health system, courts, local government and rental market in response to the pandemic.
Major changes to the justice system include judge-only trials if both the defendant and prosecution agree, bringing the state temporarily into line with the ACT, NSW, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia.
Magistrates will be able to impose electronic monitoring conditions for community correction orders, which can currently only be done by higher courts.
"It's very important that we try to keep the wheels of justice turning," Ms Hennessy said.
"It's about making sure that the courts, the corrections system and other parts of the legal system are able to work as much as they possibly can."
Ms Hennessy said none of the changes "relax or change anything" and will expire in six months.
The government has been considering judge-alone trials since late 2018 but Ms Hennessy said the changes would not act as "springboard into any broader reform".
Criminal Bar Association Chair Daniel Gurvich QC said the changes would not be a panacea for the backlog of cases in the system but would help address some of the delay caused by the crisis.
High-profile cases that have attracted saturation media coverage, complex fraud trials and ones involving corporate entities would also benefit from judge-only trials, he said.
Adjustments to rental agreements, including a temporary ban on evictions, are included in the bill, which is set to be passed during an emergency one-day sitting of parliament on Thursday.
Budget and appropriation bills - which ensure the state's public service can be paid - are also on the agenda.
The proposed changes follow Monday's suspension of bail reporting conditions.
About 3000 people are currently on bail and, on average, make 10,000 visits to police stations every week.
Police Minister Lisa Neville said the changes were to protect the community and police officers from the spread of coronavirus.
Opposition spokesman David Davis said the coalition would support the bill despite some concerns and urged for a return to jury trials as soon as possible.
He also said most court proceedings should be streamed publicly online.
Other measures in the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 include:
* Allowing local councils to hold meetings online.
* Allowing parliamentary committees to carry out work remotely.
* Providing an extra six months of WorkCover payments to some long-term injured workers who are due to transition off payments but are unable to due to COVID-19.
* Enabling planning panels to hold hearings by video conference.
* Extending the lapse time for interim family violence intervention orders and personal safety intervention orders from 28 days to three months.
* Giving the health minister the power to alter nurse-to-patient ratios if hospitals are overwhelmed by coronavirus, after consultation with the union.
Australian Associated Press