The Australian Government is providing $3.8 million in funding for 14 legal assistance services across the country to ensure First Australians have continued access to legal assistance.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said the Government was committed to ensuring Indigenous Australians are able to access the advice and help they need when dealing with legal matters.
“Providing assistance – be it legal or otherwise – for Indigenous Australians is a major priority of our Government,” Minister Scullion said.
“First Australians are over-represented in our justice system and we need to be doing as much as possible to reduce these high incarceration rates.
“I am pleased to be announcing continued funding for the Supplementary Legal Assistance and Indigenous Women’s Programs so that they can continue delivering services for at least another year.
“This funding extension brings legal services funded under the IAS in line with the funding of legal assistance services nationally.
“While the Attorney-General’s Department primarily funds legal assistance services, this supplementary funding will ensure that high quality, culturally sensitive and accessible legal assistance services can be provided to Indigenous Australians so they can fully exercise their legal rights and responsibilities.
“The funding will include the provision of legal advice, casework and education across a wide variety of legal issues such as domestic and sexual violence, family law, child protection, housing, victims of crimes compensation, employment, debt and consumer credit issues.
“Many of the services funded are Women’s Legal Services which will focus on legal help and support for victims of family violence.”
Today’s funding announcement builds on other funding initiatives to support Indigenous people. Through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, the Government has committed $121.2 million to the Family Violence Prevention Legal Services sector through to 30 June 2020.
As part of the 2017‑18 Budget, the Government committed an additional $55.7 million over the three years in total for Community Legal Centres ($39 million) under the National Partnership on Legal Assistance Services and to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services ($16.7 million) under the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program.