Legal Assistance Sector Funding Welcomed

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11th May 2010, 11:18pm - Views: 739
Legal Assistance Sector Funding Welcomed

The Law Council tonight said it welcomed the $154 million injection into the legal assistance sector.

Law Council President Glenn Ferguson said he was very pleased with the additional resources being directed into this chronically underfunded area.

"All Australians have a fundamental right to access legal advice and services, regardless of their means and the Law Council and its constituent bodies have been calling on Federal Governments to address the underfunding of the legal assistance sector for well over a decade so we are pleased with this outcome," Mr Ferguson said.

"This is the most significant amount of funding the sector has received in over 10 years and this substantial increase in recurrent expenditure will go some way to ensuring the provision of better access to justice for the economically and socially disadvantaged members of our community," he said.

The Law Council acknowledges the work of the Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, in reallocating resources within his own portfolio to find these additional funds for the legal assistance sector.

"Notwithstanding the significant injection of funds received in this Budget, the legal assistance sector will still be grossly underfunded and suffering the effects of many years of neglect from the previous Government," Mr Ferguson said.

The allocation of $92.3 million over the next four years for legal aid still falls short of the required budget.

"This amounts to $23 million per annum and is significantly short of the $43 million the Law Council indicated was required for legal aid this year alone to begin to provide better access to justice," Mr Ferguson said.

Access to justice for all Australians, regardless of their means, is a key priority for the Law Council and it looks forward to working with the Attorney-General to continue to improve access to legal assistance services in Australia.

Vanessa Kleinschmidt, Director Communications & Stakeholder Relations
P. 02 6246 3716
M. 0408 014 110
E. [email protected]/

SOURCE: Law Council of Australia

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