2019 Call to Parties Statement
1. Make justice more accessible
The Australian Government is dedicated to making the federal justice system more accessible. This means ensuring the community receives appropriate advice and assistance, no matter how they enter the justice system.
Queensland Law Society calls for a commitment to:
- increase the level of per capita of federal government Legal Aid and legal assistance sector funding to restore equality between the State and Commonwealth shares of funding by the 2020 – 2021 financial year
- ensure certain, predictable, long-term and sustainable funding for the legal assistance sector
- ensure that funding for the legal assistance service sector is decided and announced at the time of the 2019 Federal Budget given that the current National Partnership Agreement expires in mid-2020
- the use of justice impact statements upon the introduction of a bill to detail what “cost” will be imposed on the justice system and the direct linking of these costs for funding for the court and legal assistance sector
- ensure there are appropriate resources directed to the legal assistance sector to meet unexpected increases in demand for legal help as a result of the introduction of new policies or legislation
- change legislation to permit money seized from proceeds of crime to be an additional ongoing funding source for legal assistance service providers
- provide increased legal assistance funding to support vulnerable persons with a disability attempting to enter the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) system and include the provision of appropriate legal assistance in the approved Support Categories which successful recipients of NDIS funding may choose to purchase with their funding
- removal of gag clauses in federal government contracts that restrict the ability of the community legal assistance sector to engage in systemic law reform, policy and advocacy work and to refrain from imposing such restrictions in future contracts.
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