Funding Legal Services for Our Most Vulnerable
According to a media release from the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion, the Turnbull Government has made a commitment to funding legal services with an additional $55.7 million over the next three years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services ($16.7 million) and Community Legal Centres ($39 million).
The additional $39 million for Community Legal Centres will prioritise frontline family law and family violence services.
Combined with existing funding under the National Partnership Agreement to 2020, this represents the largest ever Commonwealth investment in legal assistance services – a record commitment of $1.73 billion.
This investment builds on the Turnbull Government’s historic funding commitments to keep women and children safe from violence. The Government has already committed $45 million for frontline legal assistance and family law services as part of the $100 million Women’s Safety Package and $100 million Third Action Plan.
The Government is also investing more than $112 million through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy to Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS) to provide culturally-appropriate legal assistance and support to Indigenous families.
The funding allocation will be finalised with the states and territories under the National Partnership Agreement.
As part of the Government’s commitment to achieving real and positive change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, an additional $16.7 million will also be directed to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services over the next three years.
The Commonwealth continues to provide over 95 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services funding, despite the majority of services being provided for state or territory criminal law matters.
The Government has always recognised the essential role of the legal assistance sector in providing access to justice for the most vulnerable Australians.
News Source: Australian Government, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Record Federal Funding for Legal Assistance, 24 April 2017. Here’s the full story.