Newsletter date: 3 April 2015
* Media Release: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services: NATSILS welcomes the reversal of funding cuts
* News: SNAICC: Breaking news: Government reverses cuts to Aboriginal legal services
* Media Release: Greens Senators Penny Wright & Larissa Waters: Legal aid reversal welcome, but just the start
* Media Release: Federation of Community Legal Centres: Cuts reversal welcome relief, but future funding boost to legal services needed to fully protect the vulnerable
* News Analysis: Community Law Blog: Reversal of legal service cuts draws broad media coverage
* Media Release: NACLC: Relief for disadvantaged communities as NACLC welcomes reversal of funding cuts to legal assistance
* News Analysis: National Association of Community Legal Centres - News
* Media Release: Greens Senator Larissa Waters: "Abbott Government excluding Environmental Defenders Offices from its reversal of funding cuts to community legal centres"
* WGAR Background: Aboriginal Peoples and the impact of the Federal Budget
* WGAR Background: Justice Reinvestment, Aboriginal imprisonment and Aboriginal deaths in custody
WGAR News Public Google Group: https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en-GB#!forum/wgar-news
WGAR News - Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)
- Media Release
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services: NATSILS welcomes the reversal of funding cuts
26 Mar 15: "Today, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) welcomed the announcement by the Attorney-General’s Department that the announced funding cuts to the legal assistance sector have been reversed.
NATSILS Chairperson, Shane Duffy, said, "We are thrilled to have received the news that the Abbott government has taken the responsible step of reversing the announced cuts to legal assistance services."
"The services provided by our members are absolutely critical to assisting the most vulnerable members of society and we are very pleased that the government has recognised the value of these services."
"The announcement means that we can get on with what we do best, which is providing culturally competent legal services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities."
"However, while the announcement today is welcomed, the government also needs to know that the funding provided is not enough to meet the legal needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. ... ""
SNAICC - Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care: Breaking news: Government reverses cuts to Aboriginal legal services
30 Mar 15: "The Australian Government has reversed its decision to drastically cut Aboriginal legal services, in an announcement made by Attorney-General George Brandis on 26 March. ... In 2014 the Productivity Commission on Access to Justice Arrangements recommended that, along with a reversal of cuts, an additional $200 million be added to the legal assistance sector to address urgent need across the country. Mr Duffy [NATSILS Chairperson Shane Duffy] took the opportunity to thank organisations within the legal and community services sectors for their resolute support."
- Media Release
Greens Senators Penny Wright & Larissa Waters: Legal aid reversal welcome, but just the start
Penny Wright: http://penny-wright.greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/legal-aid-re...
Larissa Waters: http://larissa-waters.greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/legal-aid-...
26 Mar 15: "Australian Greens spokesperson for legal affairs Senator Penny Wright says the Government should not stop at reversing cuts to the legal assistance sector, but look at increasing funding in the upcoming budget.
"Legal assistance services were operating on a shoe-string budget before the Attorney-General's cuts," Senator Wright said.
"Today's policy reversal is extremely welcome, but this should only be the beginning. The Productivity Commission's recent report said $200 million more was required just to address urgent need."
Senator Wright also urged the government to scrap a clause in the funding agreements that prevent Federal funding being used for law reform advocacy. ... "
Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens spokesperson for women, said:
"We welcome that the government is abandoning some of its cruel cuts following the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry into domestic violence.
"It must now reverse the other funding cuts it has made to services for women escaping domestic violence, including to crisis accommodation and rental affordability.""
- Media Release
Community Law Blog - Federation of Community Legal Centres: Cuts reversal welcome relief, but future funding boost to legal services needed to fully protect the vulnerable
26 Mar 15: "The reversal of deep cuts to legal assistance services announced today by Federal Attorney-General George Brandis has been welcomed by the Federation of Community Legal Centres, but the Victorian community legal peak has warned that a future funding boost is required to fully protect the most vulnerable.
There remains that the Productivity Commission has recommended a funding boost of $200 million to legal assistance services that were already chronically underfunded before these cuts,’ said Liana Buchanan, Executive Officer of the Federation, today.
‘The cuts had meant that many community legal centres were already losing lawyers and winding back services, including for women facing family violence in regional areas. Today’s announcement will halt that damage, but we need to ensure not just that we prevent further damage to a system in crisis, but that the system is properly funded to ensure that vulnerable people are not turned away from free legal help. ... "
- News Analysis
Community Law Blog - Federation of Community Legal Centres: Reversal of legal service cuts draws broad media coverage
Updated 30 Mar 15: " ... The reversal of funding cuts included community legal centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS), and State and Territory Legal Aid Commissions, but excluded Environment Defenders Offices, and the national Aboriginal legal peak NATSILS. Cuts planned for 2017–18 have also not been reversed. The announcement confirmed that restrictions on advocacy imposed by the Attorney-General in July 2014 would be maintained."
- Media Release
NACLC - National Association of Community Legal Centres: Relief for disadvantaged communities as NACLC welcomes reversal of funding cuts to legal assistance
26 Mar 15: "The National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) welcomes the announcement made by the Commonwealth Attorney-General today that the funding cuts to community legal centres (CLCs) included in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) 2013, will be reversed.
"The announcement today shows that the Abbott Government has heard the calls from the community that free legal help for people experiencing disadvantage is essential and must continue," said Michael Smith, NACLC Chairperson. ...
NACLC also welcomes the announcement that funding cuts to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services will also be reversed. "The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services are a crucial component of the legal assistance landscape Australia can't demonstrate true commitment to dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities without these services that help resolve the unacceptable overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the criminal justice system, as highlighted in the recent Close the Gap Progress and Priorities Report" said Mr Smith."
- News Analysis
National Association of Community Legal Centres - News
- Media Release
Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, comments on the Abbott Government excluding Environmental Defenders Offices from its reversal of funding cuts to community legal centres
26 Mar 15: ""The Abbott Government is adding insult to injury by leaving out EDO from its announcement about funding cut reversals.
"Grassroots community groups face a David and Goliath battle in trying to protect their land, water and climate from big coal and gas.
"With the Abbott Government taking the axe to environmental protections and sacking departmental staff, community enforcement of laws that protect the planet is all the more important. ... " Senator Waters said.
Senator Waters was a lawyer at the Qld EDO for nearly a decade before entering Parliament."
WGAR Background: Aboriginal Peoples and the impact of the Federal Budget
(last updated: 9 March 2015)
WGAR Background: Justice Reinvestment, Aboriginal imprisonment and Aboriginal deaths in custody
(last updated: 9 March 2015)
- - -
WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)
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