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Commonwealth legal aid under spotlight

Commonwealth legal aid under spotlight

A review of Australia’s Commonwealth-funded legal assistance services is to be completed by an independent consulting firm by June next year.

A review of Australia’s Commonwealth-funded legal assistance services is to be completed by an independent consulting firm by June next year.  

On 4 May, Commonwealth Attorney-General Nicola Roxon announced the appointment of Allen Consulting Group to conduct a review of the Commonwealth’s $1.3 billion legal assistance services.

Allen Consulting Group provides policy analysis and advice to business and government, working primarily with Australian clients but also with clients in Asia, the Middle East, New Zealand and South Africa.

“This review will help to ensure we continue to deliver the most cost-effective Commonwealth-funded legal assistance services to those most in need,” said Roxon. “The appointment of the Allen Consulting Group marks the commencement of the review, which will help drive important reform across the legal assistance sector.”

Reforms
The collaborative review will involve the Commonwealth and all states and territories, and will include extensive consultation with service providers.

All four of the Commonwealth’s legal assistance programs will be included in the review, namely the Legal Aid Commissions, Community Legal Centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and Family Violence Prevention Legal Services.

Also under review this year will be the Gillard Government’s national security legislation.

On 4 May Attorney-General Nicola Roxon announced she had asked the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security to consider potential reforms through public hearings. Roxon said this was the beginning of the process and that the Government would be seeking views before determining which legislative reforms it would pursue.

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