INITIATIVES IN the Attorney-General and Justice and Customs portfolio will see an additional $1.621 billion spent over five years.
This “substantial” boost in funding includes $766.3 million from 2003-04 for policing assistance to Papua New Guinea, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock and Minister for Justice and Customs Chris Ellison said.
Announcing the 2004-05 Budget package, Ruddock claimed it reflected the Government’s strong commitment to national security and the fight against terrorism, protecting Australian borders, fighting crime and maintaining access to legal services.
In a media release from Ruddock and Ellison, it was stated that since the September 2001 attacks in the US and in Bali in October 2002, the Government had allocated more than $2.3 billion for national security initiatives.
The Government would provide additional resources valued at $351.7 million over four years to protect Australians and Australian interests against terrorism.
To continue the fight against crime, $39.9 million will be provided over four years to establish a National Community Crime Prevention Programme, support new investigative methods for law enforcement agencies and continue for a further year the juvenile diversion scheme and Aboriginal interpreter service in the NT.
The A-G also highlighted the Government’s funding of Legal Aid.
For a full report on the legal profession’s response to this funding, see last week’s page one Lawyers Weekly report ‘Legal aid is lip service: lawyers’.