ALA calls for parties to commit to increased funding for community legal services

16th May 2019

In the lead up to the federal election, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has called on the major parties to commit to significantly increasing funding for community legal services.

“Access to justice is a foundation issue for the ALA. Inadequate funding for legal aid and community legal centres undermines the ability of individuals to seek protection and exercise their rights under the law,” said Ms Noor Blumer, National President, ALA.

“Currently there is a dire lack of an adequate legal assistance for people who are already disadvantaged and more services are urgently needed to ensure they can access timely, essential legal advice.”

In 2014 the Productivity Commission recommended an immediate injection of at least $120 million per year in additional funding for legal assistance sector, including at a minimum an additional $14.4 million per year to community legal centres (CLCs), amounting to at least $43.2 million between 2018-2019 and 2020-2021.

The policies of the major parties on the question of additional funding for community legal services are as follows:



The Greens

The legal assistance package, as announced in the 2019 budget, is the basis of the government’s ongoing support of the legal assistance sector.


It includes $918.4 million over four years for legal assistance to be delivered by LACs, CLCs and ATSILS.


From 1 July 2020, combined with existing funding, the government will provide $1.2 billion over three years for legal assistance services.

In addition to existing funding for LACs, CLCs and ATSILS, Labor has promised:

  • A new $90 million Preventing Family Violence Legal Service Fund.
  • Labor will more than double investment in the Fourth Action Plan to prevent and respond to family violence, delivering Commonwealth funding of over $660 million.
  • $107 million package to address the disadvantages experienced by First Nations people in the justice system.
  • $120 million over four years for specialist financial services lawyers in CLCs.

In addition to existing funding for LACs, CLCs and ATSILS, the Green’s Access to Justice policy includes additional federal funding across the forward estimates of:

  • $92.6m for Community Legal Centres
  • $290.04m for Legal Aid Commissions
  • $183.09m for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services
  • $144.36m for Family Violence Prevention Legal Services
  • $6.99m for legal service peak bodies.

Tags: Legal Aid and CLCs