Funding certainty for critical legal assistance services


To ensure vulnerable Canberrans have access to critical legal assistance, the ACT Government will provide funding certainty in the 2022-23 ACT Budget for three organisations to deliver critical legal services to those who need it most.

  • $1.072 million over three years to Canberra Community Law to continue to deliver free legal services, including services specialising in public housing, social security, disability discrimination and homelessness legal services.
  • $743,000 over two years to Aboriginal Legal Services NSW/ACT to establish a new dedicated Care and Protection Legal Advocacy Service to provide culturally appropriate legal and advocacy services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT’s care and protection system.
  • $470,000 over three years to Aboriginal Legal Services NSW/ACT to continue the Trial Advocate position, which provides legal assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans; and
  • $700,000 over three years to CARE ACT to provide ongoing base funding to enable it to continue the Mobile Debt Clinic (previously known as the Reach Out Program) which supports Canberrans experiencing financial abuse as a result of domestic and family violence.

Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said the three-year funding will provide financial stability to these organisations.

“Better financial stability means stronger foundations for these valuable community programs,” Attorney-General Rattenbury said. “Previous budgets have primarily declared year-on-year funding initiatives, which limits an organisation's ability to strategically plan their programs and services.

“COVID-19 created a new level of demand for many of these community services. This investment will ensure these services can support our community not just to get through the pandemic, but for the longer term.

“We also heard during Our Booris Our Way independent review of the need for culturally appropriate care and protect legal services, which is why we are funding the Aboriginal Legal Services’ innovative programs.”

Quote attributable to Genevieve Bolton, Canberra Community Law:

“Not having to rebid for funding every year is giving us the chance to forward plan meaningful programs. It’s also a huge stress relief.”

Quote attributable to Nadine Miles, Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT:

“It takes time to develop effective community programs, monitor their performance and tailor improvements so that we’re delivering the best possible services. It’s great to see the ACT Government recognising this by making longer-term funding available. This will enable us to continue supporting Aboriginal people living on Ngunnawal and Ngambri land, in particular children and families.”