The Federal Government refuses funding for more cases than it approves under the Commonwealth Public Interest and Test Cases Scheme (CPITC), a Senate question time has revealed.
The Department has refused funding for 119 applications under the CPITC (as at 11 June 2009).
In response to an Opposition question on notice in the Senate on 13 August, the Attorney General's department's legal assistance branch revealed that it had approved funding for 75 matters (as at 16 June 2009) under the CPITC out of 194 applications.
Senator Wong told the Senate that applications for assistance may be refused for a range of reasons including, if the application relates to a non-Commonwealth area of law or the applicant is considered to have sufficient financial means to meet the cost of the proceedings.
Applications may also be refused where the applicant fails to submit a completed application or withdraws their application.
In the past ten years, a total of $2,186,400 has been paid to grant recipients. This equates to an average of about $29,152 per grant, however, the lowest total paid under a single grant was $536, and the highest was $252,598.
According to the department's database, 24 of the 75 matters funded under the CPITC related to Commonwealth family law matters, nine to discrimination/human rights and eight to administrative law.
Details of individual applications are not provided by the department, as Commonwealth financial assistance is deemed confidential under the Privacy Act 1988.
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