More funds for le­gal aid rec­om­mended

Central and North Burnett Times - - VOICE OF THE BURNETT - Shirley Way shirley.way@cnbtimes.com.au

THE Pro­duc­tiv­ity Com­mis­sion has re­leased a re­port on ac­cess to jus­tice in Aus­tralia, find­ing bar­ri­ers to jus­tice and le­gal aid ser­vices need re­form and ad­di­tional fund­ing.

Its rec­om­men­da­tions, in­clud­ing up to $200 mil­lion fund­ing for le­gal aid and other ser­vices, have come after the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment slashed this year’s bud­get for le­gal aid by more than $15 mil­lion and last year’s bud­get for in­dige­nous le­gal aid by more than $13 mil­lion.

When the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment banned Com­mu­nity Le­gal Cen­tres from ad­vo­cat­ing for pol­icy or law re­form this July, it brought a strong protest from the Aus­tralian Lawyers Al­liance (ALA).

The ALA pointed to the then draft re­port, which found ad­vo­cacy ben­e­fited the de­liv­ery of le­gal aid.

The Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Com­mu­nity Le­gal Cen­tres con­venor Michael Smith has sup­ported most of the re­port’s fi­nal rec­om­men­da­tions.

“We think there’s a real need for peo­ple to be able to ac­cess the law in a re­ally sim­ple way and know the best way to get help,” he said.

All eyes will be on the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s re­sponse.

Read more: http://www.pc.gov.au/ in­quiries/com­pleted/ ac­cess-jus­tice/re­port.

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