Over the past several weeks, the the major federal political parties have been rolling out their policy announcements ahead of the May 18 election.
Most recently, we've seen some quite welcome announcements affecting sector funding and access to justice. In the last few days before early voting opened, both Labor and the Greens released policy commitments which would have a significant impact on access to justice for people and communities who need it most.
You'll find a useful summary of each major party's position in relation access to justice in this Lawyers Weekly story.
Here are a some specific announcements.
- Labor has announced $660m for family violence prevention, double the commitment of the government, including increased funding for community legal centres.
- On the same day, Labor committed $107m to tackle indigenous disadvantage in the justice system, including increased funding for justice reinvestment and Aboriginal Legal Services – as well as retaining the independence of the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program.
- Meanwhile, the Greens have announced a comprehensive $1.59bn access to justice program, with significant funding boosts to the whole legal assistance sector, including restoring crucial funding cut from Environmental Defenders Offices.
The National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) has welcomed plans by the ALP and Greens to address critical First Nations justice issues (read more here) as well as a commitment from the ALP to provide additional funding for community legal centres to keep people experiencing family violence safe (read more here).