Community Legal Centres Queensland welcomes the budget allocations handed down in State Parliament yesterday for legal assistance services but were disappointed there was no real increase in funding to meet Queenslanders legal needs.
Rosslyn Monro, Director, Community Legal Centres Queensland commented, ‘The amount allocated to legal services remains the same. This is a good outcome for the people we currently serve but does not address the unmet need within the Queensland community.’
Community legal centres provide services to people facing discrimination, hardship and economic disadvantage. We estimate that we turn away 50,000 people each year because we don’t have the resources to meet their needs. The announcement by the State Government yesterday will mean that these Queenslanders will not get access to legal services,’ she said.
‘Yesterday’s funding allocation will allow our legal centres to continue to perform a vital role in the community, helping people navigate tough times. We are disappointed there will be no increase in funding to help the Queenslanders we turn away on a daily basis,’ Ms Monro said.
The amount allocated in the state budget for legal assistance services is $1.188 million in 2021 to 2022 and $1.443 million in 2022 to 2023. An additional $2.6 million over two years and $2.2 million over three years is being met internally by the Department of Justice. This means that current state temporary funding will become recurrent over the coming years. The total commitment made to legal assistance service by the Queensland Government will be $45.485 million over 2020 to 2023.
Queensland is yet to be notified by the Commonwealth of their funding allocation under the National Partnership Agreement which is due to commence in July 2020. Once the Commonwealth has provided the funding amount, the Department of Justice has indicated they will work in consultation with the sector to determine how funding will be allocated