Budget breakdown: How the justice system is set to benefit
Further details have been released regarding the government’s efforts to support the justice system, following the federal budget being handed down on Tuesday, 6 October.
The Morrison government has delivered its 2020-21 budget, declaring it will provide $220 million to support the delivery of critical frontline services for families.
As part of this, $133 million has been dedicated towards family and child support programs and $87.3 million towards family law and family relationship services.
In clarifying the key measures introduced, Attorney-General Christian Porter issued a statement, noting the government “recognises the pressures the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on the justice system more broadly”.
These measures include:
- $35.7 million in additional resources and judges for the Federal Circuit Court (FCC) to ensure timely case hearings for migration and family law cases, funded by increases to FCC migration application fees.
- $35.3 million in increased temporary resourcing for the Fair Entitlements Guarantee program.
- $7.7 million for upgrades to the Launceston and Rockhampton FCC registries.
- $5.1 million for the Fair Work Commission to meet demand arising from COVID‑19 and ensure workplace disputes are resolved as quickly as possible.
- $4.8 million for the Family Violence and Cross-examination of Parties Scheme.
- $2.5 million to allow the federal family law courts to continue to hear urgent matters through a specialist COVID-19 List.
- $2.5 million to transition the Family Court of Western Australia to a new case management system.
- $1.8 million to implement criminally enforceable federal family violence orders (FFVOs).
“The Morrison Government is providing additional support for Australia’s legal system to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and to support those using the courts to resolve their matters as quickly and efficiently as possible,” he explained.
“Legal fees associated with protracted court action can rapidly eat away at the funds parents need to restart their lives after a separation, so it makes good sense to assist them to settle matters amicably wherever possible.”
The A-G added that “keeping matters out of the courts also helps to reduce congestion for those cases where court proceedings are necessary”.
“The past year has presented a number of challenges to legal and workplace services in terms of the level of demand and issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
“We are investing in additional resources, upgraded systems and better facilities to ensure the services within my portfolio responsibility continue to allow Australians to efficiently resolve their legal and workplace issues.”