Federal Government cuts funding to Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service


Today the President of the Law Society of Tasmania, Matthew Verney, spoke at a press conference to advocate for the reinstatement of Federal Government funding to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service.

The Federal Government has cut funding to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service after forty years of continuous service in favour of funding a Victorian organisation to provide legal services to the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.

Mr Verney said “the cuts to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service will result in a significant adverse impact on access to justice for Tasmania’s Aboriginal community”.  The Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service engages senior experienced lawyers who well understand the specific needs of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.  The Victorian organisation has said they will engage junior Lawyers.

Mr Verney said “There is no doubt that there will be an adverse impact on the representation of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community members in our justice system whether that be in Criminal, Family Law, or Child Protection cases.  This will have an adverse impact on outcomes for Tasmanian Aboriginals in the justice system which may include higher rates of imprisonment and worse outcomes overall.”

Mr Verney said “there has been no criticism of the quality of the service provided by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service over the last forty years and there is not expected to be any financial saving as a result of the new measures”.

The Law Society of Tasmania urges the Federal Government to reverse this decision and encourages the Tasmanian Government to put its support behind the Tasmanian Aboriginal community and advocate with its Federal counterpart for the reinstatement of funding.


Matthew Verney
0438 248 708

15 June 2015