find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Corporate Lawyer
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· 12 months fixed term opportunity
View details
Property lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Property Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Impressive client list, national firm · Well-led and high-performing team
View details
Legal aid reversal falls short

Legal aid reversal falls short

Senator Penny Wright

The federal government has reversed cuts to legal aid funding of about $25.5 million over two years, but that won’t meet ‘urgent need’ for increased services.

Attorney-General George Brandis and Assistant Minister for Women Michaelia Cash jointly announced on Thursday (26 March) that the cuts, scheduled to take effect on 1 July, will not proceed.

On the same day, both major parties rejected a Senate motion by the Greens to increase funding for community legal services.

Greens legal affairs spokesperson Senator Penny Wright (pictured) said the government should not stop at reversing cuts, but look at increasing funding for the legal assistance sector in May’s federal Budget.

“Legal assistance services were operating on a shoe-string budget before the Attorney-General’s cuts,” Senator Wright said. “Today’s policy reversal is extremely welcome, but this should only be the beginning.”

The president of the Australian Bar Association, Fiona McLeod SC, also claimed the reversal of the proposed cuts was just the first step in restoring the Commonwealth contribution to legal aid funding.

“Legal Aid remains chronically underfunded,” she told Lawyers Weekly.

“This announcement will assist in bringing governments together to work towards permanent guaranteed funding.”

According to the Productivity Commission’s recent Access to Justice Arrangements report, another $200 million is required to address the urgent need for increased legal aid services.

The chair of the National Association of Community Legal Centres, Michael Smith, echoed the views of Ms Wright and Ms McLeod, saying there was “still some way to go to ensure that the most vulnerable in our communities are not turned away from receiving legal services”.

“This can be achieved by all levels of government committing to a real partnership to provide the additional $200 million to legal assistance services in Australia,” he added.

Earlier this month, all state and territory attorneys-general urged Mr Brandis to preserve CLC funding, warning the cuts would set back progress made in dealing with domestic violence and Indigenous disadvantage.

The ABA and the Law Council of Australia had called on the government to rethink cuts to Indigenous services, with Ms McLeod arguing that the consequence would be “chaos in the courts and an increase in Indigenous imprisonment”.

About $11.5 million in funding for Indigenous legal assistance was restored as part of yesterday’s decision.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Legal aid reversal falls short
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Aug 23 2017
NT Law Society sounds alarm on mandatory sentencing
The Law Society Northern Territory has issued a warning over mandatory sentencing, saying it hasn’...
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, even how we take a...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...