HomeNews & media > Latest news

News item

Back to the previous page

Planned Coalition cuts to Indigenous legal assistance indefensible

A 20 per cent cut to Indigenous legal assistance Australia-wide hidden in the Coalition's election costings is indefensible, says the Federation of Community Legal Centres.

"Legal assistance services are already significantly underfunded, but this cut will place at further risk disadvantaged Indigenous people who are already over-represented in the justice system, and who bear a disproportionate risk of harm and death in Australia's prison system," said the Executive Officer of the Federation, Liana Buchanan, today.

The Opposition Leader claims he would be a Prime Minister for Indigenous people at the same time that he proposes a funding cut that will increase Indigenous incarceration, and at the same time that he proposes funding be increased for groups opposing Indigenous land title claims.

The cut to Indigenous legal assistance is part of the $42 million dollar cut to the Indigenous Policy Reform Program, and is revealed in section 9.3 of the Coalition costings document.

National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) has responded to the cut with a media release noting that "our peoples are 15 times more likely to be incarcerated and...rates of incarceration have risen by 50 per cent in the past 10 years compared to only 5 per cent for the rest of the population...access to culturally competent legal assistance services is a critical issue for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples".

See also:

Devastating impacts of Coalition's proposed cuts to Aboriginal legal services, media release
National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service, 6 September 2013

Coalition's proposed cuts to ATSILS represent a big step backwards for access to justice, media release
National Association of Community Legal Centres, 6 September 2013

Cutting Aboriginal Legal Services risks entrenching disadvantage, media release
Community Law Australia, 6 September 2013

Coalition's legal aid cuts a 'slap in the face for Indigenous communities'
The Guardian Australia, 6 September 2013

The Coalition announces $42 million cut to Aboriginal legal aid
The Wire, 6 September 2013

Coalition caned over claims of cash cuts, ABC News Online, 6 September 2013.

Bashing the blacks on legal aid – the LNP paves the road to 'assimilation by incarceration', Crikey, 6 September 2013

For additional coverage of access to justice in the Federal election, see our election wrap.

Media inquiries to Darren Lewin-Hill on 0488 773 535.


Website by CeRDI