IT WAS a case of ‘build it and they will come’ when Legal Aid Queensland set up its free telephone information and advice service, which resulted in close to a quarter of a million Queenslanders being given immediate legal assistance over the last year that they otherwise may not have had.
Tabling Legal Aid Queensland’s 2003-04 annual report in Parliament, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Rod Welford said more than 300,000 Queenslanders had accessed free legal advice from the organisation over the period.
The telephone service allowed record numbers of Queenslanders to access legal help, Welford said, and another 55,000 received free legal advice from a solicitor.
“Queenslanders can access this information and advice service, irrespective of where they live, for the cost of a local phone call,” he said.
He also payed tribute to the “unsung heroes” of legal aid in Queensland — those private solicitors around the state who take on cases, “handling more than 70 per cent of all legal aid work”.
The Attorney-General also noted that services for young people were a priority for Queensland Legal Aid, which helped more than 5,000 children and young people in the last year.
“Legal Aid Queensland recognises the unique vulnerabilities and needs of children and is the largest legal service in our state providing services to our young people,” he said.