The Victorian Government has announced a boost to legal aid funding as part of next week's state budget, as well as extra funding to provide new judges and magistrates.
ABC News indicates that the state budget will provide over $60 million in the next five years for new judges and magistrates in addition to a significant increase foreshadowed for legal aid funding.
The budget announcement followed a rally of Victorian legal organisations and members of the profession outside the County Court in Melbourne today to protest against legal aid funding shortages.
The announcement has been welcomed by organisers of today's rally - The Victorian Bar and the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) - with hopes the additional state legal funding will put additional pressure on the Federal Government to boost its funding.
"This is good news. Every year the Victorian Bar and a coalition of legal bodies representing our colleagues in the profession has called for proper funding of legal aid as the system continues to teeter on the brink of collapse," said chairman of the Victorian Bar, Michael Colbran QC, in a statement.
"We are very pleased with this move by the Victorian Government to redress the situation and the additional resourcing to allow six new judicial appointments in courts that deal with the key stress areas of criminal and family law," he said.
Dr David Neal SC said: "There is still a funding shortfall and it is critical that the Federal Government come to the table as a significant partner in protecting the rights of the most disadvantaged Australians."
Check back with Lawyers Weekly for more budget updates