Funding boost to ensure struggling Australians can get legal assistance
The Morrison Government is injecting an additional $63.3 million into frontline legal services to support Australians impacted by COVID-19.
"The Government knows how tough many Australian families are doing it right now, and this additional funding will ensure frontline legal service providers have the resources they need to meet any increased demand caused by the pandemic," Attorney-General Christian Porter said.
Of the $63.3 million in extra funding, $20 million will be used to assist those dealing with domestic violence matters. Another $29.8 million will help fund other COVID-19 issues, such as tenancy disputes, insurance, credit and debt related problems, and work related claims.
The remaining $13.5 million will enable service providers to rapidly improve their IT capabilities as they shift to virtual service delivery because of COVID-19 restrictions.
"It is essential that these services can continue to deliver support to Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this money will help to meet the costs of purchasing equipment such as new laptops, upgrading internet connectivity and remote access facilities," the Attorney-General said.
"Importantly, the money will also help to purchase software packages which enable video conferencing, including with the courts where many matters continue to be heard virtually."
Recipients of the funding will include Legal Aid Commissions (LACs), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS), Community Legal Centres (CLCs) and Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS).
The Australian Government will work with the state and territory governments to ensure the additional support is delivered to where it is needed.
Australians in need of legal help can visit the Attorney-General's Department website to find out about the services that may be available. If in immediate danger, they should call 000 immediately.
For further advice or information about domestic and family violence, 1800RESPECT is a free, national telephone service: call 1800 737 732.