14 June, 2016
The Greens have announced a comprehensive access to justice plan to restore the Liberal Government’s cuts and invest $716 million in community legal services and legal aid.
Greens justice spokesperson Senator Nick McKim said
“Access to justice is a fundamental human right that unfortunately has been denied to too many Australians because of the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s cuts,
“As the Productivity Commission noted, cutting legal assistance is false economy, because the cost burden is shifted to other parts of the budget, such as health and housing.”
“Only the Greens have the courage to stand up for community legal centres and legal aid.”
The Greens policy would over the forward estimates invest $92 million in Community Legal Centres, $290 million in Legal Aid Commissions, $183 million in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and $144.36m in Family Violence Prevention Legal Services.
“We would also fully restore the funding that was stripped from the Environmental Defenders Offices in an ideological attack by the Coalition,” Senator McKim said.
“The work of EDOs is only likely to become more important as the effects of global warming continue to be felt.”
The Greens will also return Federal Court fees to 2010-11 levels.
“Rather than unfairly punishing people through measures like the divorce tax, we need to ensure that people can fairly access the justice system,” Senator McKim said..
The policy also includes an annual survey of legal need to determine what is required for greater access to justice, and the appropriate levels of resources to meet those needs.