FEDERAL Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch MP has today welcomed the further injection of funding by the Coalition Government to the legal assistance sector as part of the 2017-18 Budget.
The Coalition Government will provide a further $55.7 million over the next three years to community legal centres ($39 million) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services ($16.7 million).
“$1.73 billion is now going to Legal Aid Commissions, Community Legal Centres and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services over five years to 2020, which is more than ever before,” Mr Entsch said.
“I’ve met with representatives from Community Legal Centres Queensland on several occasions and received a lot of correspondence from Far Northern advocates, and have passed their specific concerns on to the Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis.
“I’m very pleased that this additional funding to Community Legal Centres will be directed to frontline family law and family violence services these are areas of profound need in our region.
“This is the latest in a series of commitments made by this Government to support the work of the legal assistance sector and women and children affected by family violence.
“As the national conversation on domestic and family violence continues, more people are coming forward to seek a range of assistance measures. The government has listened and responded.”
Today’s funding announcement builds on the Coalition Government’s existing additional investment of $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 funding allocation will be finalised with the states and territories under the National Partnership Agreement.
In addition, the Government is providing $16.7 million over the next three years to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services.
“The Government is committed to achieving real and positive change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, including by providing culturally appropriate access to justice,” Mr Entsch said.