Key ElementsThe Australian Government has committed $2.0 million to support agencies providing legal assistance to Aboriginal people who require legal advice for issues arising out of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER). Funds will be directed to target high need clients (for example, women or domestic violence victims). All legal aid service providers require additional funding to employ additional legal aid and field officers to address demand for services, meet the increase in referral rates and meet the service delivery needs of rural and remote Indigenous communities.
Additional staff located with services in Alice Springs, Katherine and Darwin will provide outreach services to rural and remote Indigenous communities.
BackgroundThe Attorney-General's Department administers funding for legal assistance service providers. Indigenous-specific services in the Northern Territory are provided by the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency which operates from Darwin and the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service which operates from Alice Springs. Legal assistance provided by Indigenous Women's Projects is funded through the Community Legal Services Programme. Aboriginal clients may also seek assistance from the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission. Legal assistance is provided to applicants who meet relevant eligibility criteria, which may include a means test.
ImplementationThe additional funding will continue funding provided in 2007-08 to increase the capacity of legal aid service providers in the Northern Territory to meet the increased demand for legal services from Aboriginal people as a result of the NTER. The funds are administered by the Attorney-General's Department and provided direct to service providers.
Total Government Funding
The Australian Government will provide $2.0 million in 2008-2009. Further activity will be informed by the outcomes of the NTER review later this year.