Queensland Law Society

Some guaranteed Legal Aid funding welcomed

Queensland Law Society president Michael Fitzgerald, and vice president Deborah Awyzio have welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement about guaranteed Legal Aid funding.

“The announcement by Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, in response to calls for guaranteed Legal Aid funding is crucial,” says Mr Fitzgerald.

“We must ensure that the most vulnerable people in the community have access to legal assistance.

“We welcome this response and acknowledge the Federal Government is listening to the community and the legal profession’s concerns.”

The Federal Government’s contribution of more than $1.327 billion to the legal assistance sector from 2013-14 to 2016-17, specifically supporting resources for those suffering from domestic and family violence, is encouraging. 

This recent decision will see funding of $11.5 million restored in the area of Indigenous legal assistance over two years, and no reduction in funding to Legal Aid Commissions or Community Legal Centres (except to Environmental Defenders Offices).

Queensland Law Society will now continue to call for an increase in the level of state government Legal Aid funding, ensuring that Queenslanders have a similar level of access to legal assistance services as is available elsewhere in Australia. 

Ms Awyzio says: “Queensland Law Society believe all Queenslanders have the right to access to justice and the most vulnerable in our community need to be protected.

“Domestic violence issues are complex and require dedicated resources.  Queensland Law Society looks forward to the Queensland Government’s response to the recent report of the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence chaired by Dame Quentin Bryce.”