NSW Law Society responds to Federal Budget

FUNDING CERTAINTY FOR LEGAL ASSISTANCE SERVICES WELCOMED

The Law Society of NSW has welcomed additional funding for legal assistance services announced in last night’s 2019-2020 Budget and the certainty it provides for these vital services over the next three years.

In welcoming the increased funding of $20 million for legal assistance services, President of the Law Society of NSW, Elizabeth Espinosa, said more funds are required to address the chronic underfunding of the legal assistance sector.

“The Law Society of NSW is pleased that the Federal Government has made a commitment to funding Legal Aid Commissions (LACS), Community Legal Centres (CLCS), Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Services Legal Services (ATSILS) and Family & Violence Prevention Services, until 30 June 2022,” Ms Espinosa said.

“These centres provide essential legal help to some of the most vulnerable people in our community and we need to ensure they can continue doing so.

“Given that core Commonwealth funding for community legal centres was due to finish on 30 June next year, the $20 million allocation is a positive step in the right direction.

“The next step now is for the Federal Government to look at providing additional long-term funding to address the chronic shortfall for legal assistance services.”

The Law Society of NSW welcomed other measures announced in the 2019-2020 Federal Budget including:

  • An additional $7 million for the Federal Courts in 2019-2020
  • $640 million for improved enforcement in the financial sector, including $35 million for a new criminal jurisdiction in the Federal Court
  • $25.1 million over three years for the Office of the Australian information Commissioner to support a new privacy regime for social media and online platform that trade in Australians’ personal information.
  • $18 million over four years for specialist support services (including legal services) to support elder abuse victims.

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