Speaking at the commencement of National Law Week, Attorney-General Robert McClelland announced the launch of a new website as part of the Government's package of measures to improve access to justice in the community.
The new website - www.accesstojustice.gov.au - will provide Australians with access to information about legal assistance and related services in their local area.
"All people will need to do is punch in their postcode or suburb and they will get comprehensive information and contact details of local legal services such as Legal Aid, Community Legal Centres, Family Relationship Centres and Dispute Resolution Services," McClelland explained.
"The website will also provide a link to lawyers who operate in each State and Territory as well as relevant laws to enable people to understand their options early, in order to prevent or resolve their disputes before they escalate or become entrenched."
The new website forms a key part of the Government's Strategic Framework for Access to Justice which includes a number of other measures, such as the recently announced injection of $154 million of additional funding into legal assistance services.
In his speech at the launch of National Law Week, McClelland said a key finding of the Government's Access to Justice Taskforce, established in 2009, was that the inability to access relevant information was a fundamental barrier to justice. "This is ironic in the current age of technology, where there is an abundance of information. But sometimes this very abundance means finding the most relevant information can be confusing," he said.
"Access to justice is not just about access to a court or a lawyer, it is about providing practical, affordable and easily understood information and options to help people to prevent or resolve their disputes."