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Lawyers praise $13m budget windfall

Lawyers praise $13m budget windfall

In a string of good-news announcements for the legal profession made by the Commonwealth Attorney General today, an injection of $13 million has been made to legal assistance programs.

IN a string of good-news announcements for the legal profession made by the Commonwealth Attorney General today, ahead of the Standing Committee of Attorney General meeting, an injection of $13 million has been made to legal assistance programs.

Attorney General Robert McClelland announced the one-off funding, which hands $7 million to legal aid commissions, $3 million for legal assistance to victims of family violence, $2.5 million for Indigenous legal aid services, and $1.1 million to work in collaboration with the Law Council of Australia to attract lawyers to legal assistance programs in rural and remote areas of Australia.

The Attorney is meeting with his state and territory counterparts today to weigh up the various intricacies of the budget injection.

The Law Council, meanwhile, has congratulated the Attorney-General on the government’s bid to bring lawyers to rural and remote areas in Australia.

It pointed to research it conducted in 2009, which found that if the shortage of lawyers in RRR areas was not addressed as a matter of priority, access to justice in these communities would be seriously impaired.

Law Council president Glenn Ferguson said the funding announced by the Attorney-General today was a very positive first step in addressing these problems.

“The Law Council has expressed concern that ongoing problems in recruiting and retaining legal practitioners in country Australia are negatively impacting on the ability of people living in these areas to access legal services,” Ferguson said.

“The funding announced today will assist the Law Council to work together with the legal assistance sector and the private profession to develop a number of initiatives aimed at addressing this crucial issue,” he said.

The Law Council said it would use a portion of the funding to develop

initiatives to enhance legal employment opportunities in remote areas.

“The Law Council made a submission in March to the Attorney-General’s Department identifying one-off funding proposals to assist in boosting the recruitment and retention of lawyers in RRR areas,” Ferguson said.



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Lawyers praise $13m budget windfall
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