25 March 2015 | General Interest
Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT has started a petition to reverse massive funding cuts of nearly 20 per cent to frontline legal services.
Phil Naden, Chief Executive Officer of ALS, says he’s hopeful the Prime Minister and Attorney-General will reverse the decision to cut funding from the ALS because of the damaging effect this will have on Aboriginal families, and particularly children.
“Everything we do at the ALS is frontline, so a 20 per cent cut to our annual budget is a 20 per cent cut to our frontline services,” said Mr Naden.
“We’re a not-for-profit community organisation running on a shoestring budget and, compared to other legal services, we are underfunded.
“But we provide a professional quality legal service for Aboriginal men, women and children who are striving against all odds to keep their families together.
“If our frontline services are cut, there will be terrible ramifications for Aboriginal children and their parents and carers.”
To read the full media release visit the ALS website.
The plight of the Aboriginal Legal Service was featured recently on ABC TV’s Lateline program.
The ALS’s acting principal legal officer Chris Day told Lateline the large budget cuts would result in the closure of some services, and force more Aboriginal clients to face court without any representation.
“There is no fat on the bone for us to cut without cutting frontline services, and that’s where the impact is really going to hit,” Mr Day said.
Aboriginal Legal Services client Jason Russell says the possibility of losing the ALS support that currently exists would be devastating.
“It’s a very, very scary thought for the next couple of generations that are coming through.”
The Lateline item can be viewed online via the ABC website.