26 September 2023

Extra funding for pandemic legal cases

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An additional $63.3 million has been allocated to frontline legal services to support Australians affected by COVID-19.

Announced by Attorney-General, Christian Porter, the funding recognizes that many Australian families were doing it tough right now and the additional funding would ensure legal service providers had the resources to meet increased demand caused by the pandemic

Mr Porter said that of the extra funding, $20 million would be used to assist those dealing with domestic violence matters with $29.8 million to help fund other COVID-19 issues such as tenancy disputes, insurance, credit and debt related problems and work related claims.

He said the remaining $13.5 million would enable service providers to improve their information technology as they adopted virtual service delivery due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“It is essential that these services can continue to deliver support to Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this money will help to meet the costs of purchasing equipment such as new laptops, upgrading internet connectivity and remote access facilities,” Mr Porter said

“Importantly, the money will also help to purchase software packages which enable video conferencing, including with the courts, where many matters continue to be heard virtually.”

He said recipients of the funding would include Legal Aid Commissions, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, Community Legal Centres and Family Violence Prevention Legal Services.

The Commonwealth is to work with State and Territory Governments to ensure the additional support was delivered where it was needed, Mr Porter said.

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