More funds for legal aid recommended
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.