THE HON. BILL SHORTEN
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG
THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
SENATOR CLAIRE MOORE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CARERS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNITIES
SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND
BRANDIS' DEVASTATING CUTS TO CONTINUE
Labor calls on Senator Brandis to fully reverse his cruel cuts to legal assistance funding.
Senator Brandis may have restored some of the funding increase Labor gave to Community Legal Centres in 2013, but he has not backed away from the $6 million cut in the last Budget.
His half-hearted announcement today confirms that the Government has still ripped more than $20 million from Community Legal Centres, Legal Aid, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and Family Violence Prevention Legal Centres.
As his own Liberal Party colleagues have warned, the Abbott Government's savage cuts are endangering the most vulnerable Australians, including women and children affected by domestic violence and Indigenous Australians.
The uncertainty created by these cuts means Community Legal Centres across Australia have already lost experienced staff and reduced the services they provide.
For more than a year Senator Brandis has maintained his cuts were aimed "policy reform advocacy" and would not affect frontline services.
Now in the face of public pressure over the clear effect of his cuts he has finally seen sense.
This is an admission that the Abbott Government's cuts were affecting the most vulnerable Australians.
Labor has called on the Prime Minister to hold a National Crisis Summit on Family Violence and announced a $70 million interim package of measures to make sure women get the legal support they need and can access critical services.
- Almost $50 million to legal services, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services to ensure women suffering from family violence have appropriate legal support;
- Initial investment of $15 million in Safe at Home grants to help people affected by family violence stay safe in their own home; and
- An investment of $8 million to improve perpetrator accountability, tracking and diversion strategies to prevent violence.
Labor will continue to fight the Abbott Government's attacks on legal assistance funding.
THURSDAY, 26 MACRH 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER'S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053
ANNIE WILLIAMS (DREYFUS) 0428 040 522
MEREDITH HORNE (MOORE) 0408599800