The Access to Justice Election Scorecard highlights where the major political parties in Australia stand on funding Community Legal Centres and other legal assistance services.
The results show the Greens are the best performing party when it comes to prioritising funding for Australia’s Community Legal Centres, followed by the ALP and then the Coalition.
• The Coalition and ALP have not committed to the broad reversal of Commonwealth funding cuts for community legal centres (CLCs) under the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance, amounting to $34.83M over the period 2017/18 to 2019/20. However, the ALP’s funding commitment for family-violence related work amounts to more than the cuts. The Greens have committed to a full reversal of the funding cuts.
• The Coalition and ALP have not committed to implementing the Productivity Commission recommendation to invest an additional $120M per year in legal assistance, including a minimum of $14.4M to CLCs. The Greens have committed to funding full implementation of the recommendation.
• The Coalition and ALP have promised CLCs a joint share of $30M family-violence related funding over 3 years. In addition, the ALP has promised $39.3M in family-violence related funding over 3 years, and $10.8M in funding for Environmental Defenders Offices over 4 years. The Greens have also have pledged $14.5M for Environmental Defenders Offices over 4 years and $1.67M to the National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) over 4 years.
• The ALP and Greens are committed to removing restrictions on the use of Commonwealth funds for policy, advocacy and law reform. No commitment has been made by the Coalition.
• The Coalition, ALP and Greens have committed to providing varying levels of funding for other legal assistance services including Family Violence Prevention Legal Services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and Legal Aid Commissions.