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Greens to boost funds for indigenous legal services

Media Release
Penny Wright 16 Aug 2013

The Australian Greens have unveiled an election commitment to double funding to indigenous family violence prevention programs and increase funding to indigenous legal services by 50 per cent.

A total of $182.1 million would be invested over the next three financial years to improving access to justice for indigenous Australians, through organisations including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services.

Australian Greens spokesperson for legal affairs, Senator Penny Wright said statistics showed legal problems were more prevalent amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and further funding would make it easier for people to sort out their legal issues.

"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services are a very important way to get advice and guidance on a whole range of legal matters.

"The Australian Greens want to make sure these programs are properly funded so access to justice is open to everyone who has been wronged and is seeking a fair outcome.

"Strengthening groups like ATSILS will allow more indigenous Australians to seek advice on everything from legal issues with government or businesses to human rights matters."

Senator Wright said she expected the funding boost would also have a positive impact on the shameful rates of indigenous incarceration.

"Too often Aboriginal people are not able to get proper legal representation in court, leading to harsher sentences than may have occurred if they'd been able to get adequate legal advice," Senator Wright said.

"The Australian Greens say it is time to make sure every Australian can resolve their legal problems, and achieve fair results, based on the merit of their case, not the size of their income.

The access to justice package announced today also includes a further $2.1 million for interpreter services and a $900,000 boost to native title system funding.

Read more about the Greens' plan for a more affordable, accessible and fair justice system at http://greensmps.org.au/justice-safety-net.

 

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