THE LAW Institute of Victoria (LIV) has lashed out at the Labor Government’s first budget, claiming a lack of budget funding is depriving children of legal representation in Family Court hearings.
LIV expressed its disappointment over the failure of the Federal Government to provide Legal Aid, and in particular Victoria Legal Aid, with the funding that LIV believes is required.
Danny Barlow, acting president for LIV, says Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) is at a crisis point: “We have supported VLA’s request for Commonwealth funding of an additional $10 million per year,” he said. Although $7 million funding to legal aid was announced in April, including a $1.9 million injection to VLA, Barlow said that this amount falls well short of the $10 million needed to sustain adequate family law services in the state.
According to Barlow, VLA has already advised lawyers that it has been forced to cut key areas on funding in Victorian family law matters. “Families and children going through difficult breakdowns will be the victims of this on going cut in funding,” Barlow said.