Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 25 June 2009) . . Page.. 3141 ..
more accounting work done. It has been reported to me by the current CEO of the commission and others that the problems associated with this are a drain on the services that can be provided by the Legal Aid Commission and sometimes create artificial barriers to providing a holistic service.
I am hopeful that in finalising the new funding agreement between the ACT and the commonwealth we may be able to overcome this rather silly arrangement, which has been criticised by successive attorneys-general from Gary Humphries all the way through, and that we may come up with a more rational approach to funding.
Like Ms Bresnan, I welcome the pilot project, the two-year project in relation to homelessness and elder law, and I welcome the wide collaboration of the commission with the Aboriginal Legal Service, the Council on the Ageing and other legal services. I hope that it will bear fruit in providing access to legal services for people who previously have not perhaps even considered that they have a chance of obtaining legal services.
It is interesting to note that in the report that was brought down this morning in relation to the annual reports, Mr Crockett, the Chief Executive Officer of the Legal Aid Commission, explained in relation to their close liaison with the Aboriginal Legal Service that through closer cooperation between the services there has been an expansion of services made available to Indigenous people in the ACT, many of whom would not have previously approached the Legal Aid Commission for assistance because they thought it dealt predominantly with criminal matters and they were perhaps ashamed or unwilling to go to a place where criminal matters where dealt with. Through close cooperation emanating from the memorandum of understanding, in fact there has been a substantial expansion of services to Indigenous people through the Legal Aid Commission.
That is a model that will probably bear fruit in other areas, and I hope that the experience of the MOU between the commission and the Aboriginal Legal Service will be used as a model for the expansion of this homelessness and elder law project to the benefit of a group of people who are particularly vulnerable in the community.
I commend the hard work and the professionalism of the officers of the Legal Aid Commission. I also note that there is a proposal to amend the Legal Aid Commission’s act so that the commission has more power to be discerning about who is on the panel of people who provide pro bono work, to attach requirements and conditions to membership of the panel, to be able to impose practice standards on people on the panel and ensure that, while we might have a smaller panel of people who are listed for doing pro bono work, we have a higher quality list of people doing pro bono work. I commend the work of the Legal Aid Commission.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Proposed expenditure—Part 1.25—Public Trustee for the ACT, $655,000 (net cost of outputs), totalling $655,000.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (1.46 am): The work of the Public Trustee is one that is growing in prominence, as it should, in the ACT. Its flagship, GreaterGood, the