I am pleased the Federal Government committed funding to boost the Women’s Legal Service (WLS) in Caboolture today, albeit only for one year.
However, as my fellow counterparts and I made it clear at last month’s Council of Attorneys-General, it is unacceptable for the Turnbull Government to refuse to commit to long term financial assistance for services that require funding from the Federal Government’s own program, the Women’s Safety Package.
Centres across Queensland and the women and children who rely upon them cannot continue to receive the help they need if the Turnbull Government only sporadically funds handpicked centres on an annual basis.
Just last month, I took the issue to the Council of Attorneys-General to request certainty for the sector, with the Women’s Safety Package to expire at the end of the financial year.
In the midst of its desperate campaign to win Longman, the Turnbull Government grants a funding application for legal representation in Caboolture Hospital without consulting the hospital itself or Metro North Hospital and Health Service to determine how a lawyer could effectively work in a clinical setting.
It begs the question whether the Turnbull Government will open its eyes to other centres whose financial futures rely on their whim, such as the North Queensland Women’s Legal Service.
Last year, the Palaszczuk Government and Community Legal Centres across Queensland banded together to campaign against the Turnbull Government’s planned funding cuts, causing the Federal Government to reverse its plans. The Palaszczuk Government provided interim funding to centres to ensure there were no shortfalls while the Commonwealth got their act together.
Community legal services do excellent work and they require the support of both the State and Federal governments.
That is why the Palaszczuk Government is injecting an additional $4.796 million in funding for Queensland Community Legal Centres between 2017 and 2020.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath