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10 priority areas for state funding: LIV
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10 priority areas for state funding: LIV

Stuart Webb

The Law Institute of Victoria has called on the Victorian government to invest in ten areas it calls ‘justice priorities’ in the lead up to this month’s state budget.

The priorities reflect the Call to Parties key issues as released by the LIV before last year’s state election, according to president Stuart Webb.

The top ten justice priorities, as set out by the LIV are:

- Access to justice
- Court resourcing and services
- Metropolitan and regional legal infrastructure
- Health and wellbeing of the judiciary and legal profession
- Property and environmental law changes
- Judicial independence and discretion
- Accountable policing
- Health justice partnerships
- Justice reinvestment and young people
- Human rights protections

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Mr Webb said that “while many of our priorities require long-term funding commitments, we are calling on the state government to make further inroads into supporting access to justice in this budget”.

The big-ticket item for the LIV president is an increase to legal aid funding, with it being noted by Mr Webb that the federal government had committed less than $20 million nationally in extra funding to legal assistance in 2019, well short of the $390 million identified as being required by the Law Council of Australia.

The LIV said such a deficit in federal funding “puts an unfair burden on the states to make up the shortfall”.

It also voiced its support for ‘justice impact tests’ to ensure that every government policy factors in any possible impact on the justice system.

“We cannot continue to fund extra police, and make changes to the law which see more people in our courts and jails, without taking a whole of justice system approach,” Mr Webb outlined.

Continuing his plea for funding, the president said that “not all justice priorities are big expense items, but we hope the government will commit to some additional resources in this year’s budget.”

“We hope Attorney-General Jill Hennessy will be able to convince her cabinet colleagues of the importance of improving access to justice for all Victorians,” Mr Webb stated.

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