Natural disasters like severe floods and bushfires, cost of living pressures, and disruptions caused by COVID-19 have led to an unprecedented demand for legal services.
Yet over the last decade, the Liberal Government has shown no interest in improving access to justice. Instead, they have neglected the legal assistance sector and made it harder for Australians who can’t afford private lawyers to access justice.
This includes the decision to terminate federal funding to Environmental Defenders Offices across Australia, without consultation or notice, at the expense of farmers and other regional Australians, First Nations people and the environment more generally.
Labor believes all Australians, including those living in regional and remote Australia, those experiencing the impacts of natural disasters and First Nations people, should be able to have their rights defended in court.
An Albanese Government will invest $25 million to boost funding for the legal assistance sector, including:
These commitments are in addition to Labor’s commitment of $13.5 million to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services to ensure families who have lost loved ones in custody can access culturally appropriate legal assistance for coronial inquests.