Brandis 'Backs In' Harsh Cuts To Community Legal Services

In yesterday’s Budget Senator Brandis locked in harsh cuts to vital legal assistance services, which will result in Australians in need being turned away from their doors.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

 

BRANDIS ‘BACKS IN’ HARSH CUTS TO COMMUNITY  LEGAL SERVICES

 

In yesterday’s Budget Senator Brandis locked in harsh cuts to vital legal assistance services, which will result in Australians in need being turned away from their doors.

 

Community Legal Centres (CLCs) are often the first and only point of call for those who cannot afford private lawyers when they are at their most vulnerable and need legal help. CLCs are struggling to keep their doors open already, with 160,000 people turned away last year due to capacity constraints.

 

The Abbott-Turnbull government already cut $24 million from CLCs. Now they are facing a funding cliff of 30 per cent in July 2017, worth nearly $35 million over three years. This will put the ongoing operation of many of these centres in jeopardy, and put further pressure on the dedicated staff who are already incredibly overworked.

 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) face a similar fate, with this budget doing nothing to reverse the $4.5 million annual cuts they are also facing from 2017.

 

These cuts are a hallmark of Senator Brandis’s tenure as Attorney-General. He has cut legal services for those who need them most, left family courts without judges, and instead pursued bizarre ideological vendettas against Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and the Australian Human Rights Commission.

 

Many of the people in need who come to CLCs and ATSILS for help are victims of domestic violence. This government has presented itself as willing to take action on this scourge, but is persisting with cuts to frontline services. It doesn’t make sense.

 

Meanwhile, Senator Brandis has found $160 million for a wasteful, hurtful plebiscite on same-sex marriage.

 

Labor is proud that we delivered a $34 million funding boost to CLCs while we were in government, and we have already committed a further $43 million to CLCs as part of our domestic violence package if we win government this year.

 

Only Labor is committed to ensuring frontline legal services for those in need are fully funded and removed from the crisis they are currently in. Those who depend on CLCs and ATSILS need them to continue, but Senator Brandis has turned a deaf ear.

 

WEDNESDAY, 4 MAY 2016

Showing 1 reaction

  • published this page in Portfolio Media 2016-05-09 17:55:08 +1000