The new National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistances Services has commenced this month, delivering $785 million worth of Commonwealth funded legal aid services.
Announced by Attorney-General Robert McClelland on 2 July, the new agreement replaces the old prescriptive legal aid arrangements where the Commonwealth was principally a purchaser of legal services.
"It also gives states and territories greater flexibility in service delivery to achieve quicker and better outcomes for legal aid clients," McClelland said.
The new agreement includes an increased focus on early intervention and prevention services; greater access to Commonwealth funding for matters falling under a State jurisdiction in areas of early intervention and child protection and family violence where there is a related family law matter; and encouraging greater collaboration among legal and other service providers.
"This agreement establishes a genuine partnership with the states and territories; will support resolving disadvantaged Australian's legal problems early and before they escalate; and provide clients with better targeted services to address legal issues," McClelland said.
The new agreement will soon be available at www.federalfinancialrelations.gov.au