Page 2262 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2022

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MR BARR: Why do you want to do that? The Opposition Leader must front up to the people of Canberra in her speech tomorrow.

Ms Lee interjecting

MADAM SPEAKER: Ms Lee, you are warned!

Budget—community legal centres

MR DAVIS: My question is to the Attorney-General. Attorney, I was pleased to see a substantial increase in long-term funding for Canberra’s not-for-profit legal community in the 2022-23 budget. How, specifically, will this funding be used; and, directly, how will this new funding help some of Canberra’s most marginalised and vulnerable residents?

MR RATTENBURY: I am particularly pleased that we have been able to support Canberra’s very important community legal centres in this budget. As Mr Davis touched on in his question, one of the important features of this funding is the securing of long-term funding. Historically, we have seen year-to-year funding for these centres. Through this budget, we have been able to provide three-year funding. It is very important because the staff who work in the community legal centres now get some improved security in terms of knowing that funding will continue for the positions in which they operate.

These services perform incredibly important work in our community in supporting some of the most vulnerable Canberrans. There is funding in this budget for Canberra Community Law. In particular, there is funding over two years to the Aboriginal Legal Service of New South Wales and the ACT to establish a new, dedicated care and protection legal advocacy service to provide culturally appropriate legal and advocacy services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT’s care and protection system.

I have worked with Minister Stephen-Smith on this because this is a recommendation that came from the Our Booris, Our Way review to assist families to understand their rights and child protection processes. The clear feedback has been that the system can be intimidating. We need to support families so that they can engage in an informed and secure way, to reduce trauma and help to keep families together.

This is the sort of really important investment that sits in this budget, and it follows through from recommendations from key people in our community who thought very carefully about this work and undertook a really important review. I was pleased to work with Minister Stephen-Smith to fund this recommendation and continue the important implementation work that has arisen from the Our Booris, Our Way report.

MR DAVIS: Minister, what are you doing to ensure that these community legal centres are secure and sustainable into the long term?

MR RATTENBURY: The first part of that question goes to providing multiyear funding—being clear that, for these centres, we will fund them over a number of budget years; they can then have that security to think about investment, staff training,

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