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South Australian legal sector to receive funding boost

Legal services available to some of South Australia’s most vulnerable citizens have been given a funding boost, with an additional $4.8 million in Commonwealth funding to help the sector respond to increased demand due to COVID-19.

user iconTony Zhang 19 June 2020 Big Law
Vickie Chapman
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South Australia Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said the sector had seen a spike in inquiries relating to certain areas – including family and domestic violence matters, including elder abuse, social security issues, employment matters and tenancy disputes.

“It’s important that people who have lost their job as a result of COVID-19, or are struggling with their rent or experiencing any other issues that may require legal advice as a result of this have access to the support they need,” Attorney-General Chapman said.

“This funding will go a long way to ensuring those vulnerable citizens who need that help have advice available to them.

 
 

“It will help key legal services employ additional staff and install the necessary ICT infrastructure to help them provide accessible, quality advice to those who need it most.”

The Legal Services Commission will receive $2,339,821. The Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement will receive $732,054 whilst the Family Violence Legal Service Aboriginal Corporation will see a near $200k funding boost.

Meanwhile, community legal centres in South Australia will receive up to $1,419,000 whilst JusticeNet SA will get an $80k boost in funding. Youth Law Australia will receive around $50k in extra funding.

Attorney-General Chapman said that over the coming financial year, a total of nearly $1.2 million would be allocated to the Legal Services Commission, the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement, South Australian community legal centres, JusticeNet and Youth Law Australia for the upgrade of ICT equipment.

“This will ensure these services have the right equipment – whether it’s new laptops, videoconferencing facilities or other technology to help them provide assistance, regardless of where the client may be,” Ms Chapman said.

“In addition, these groups will share in an extra $3.6 million over the coming two financial years to help them employ additional staff to help cater with anticipated ongoing demand for these services.”

Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter said the Morrison government was acutely aware that demand for legal services had increased as a direct consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and was ensuring support reached those that need them.

“Everyone has been impacted in some way by the COVID crisis and this Commonwealth funding ensures that the additional services needed by some of the most vulnerable in our communities [reach] them,” Attorney-General Porter said.