Concern at legal aid funding crisis

Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) has announced severe funding cuts to eligibility for criminal, family law and children's court matters.

The result will see increased self-represented people before our Courts and a denial of access to justice. VLA's Annual Report 2011/2012 reports a $3 million deficit.

The Commonwealth government's contribution to VLA has decreased from 55 per cent to 33 per cent over the past decade.

Now the Federal Attorney-General has pledged $1.3 billion over three years.

What is this to be spent on? VLA spends $49 million of public money on its own in-house lawyer costs.

VLA was a 'dispenser' of government public funds. Now it is a 'user of public funds' as a large corporate body.

The legal aid system in Victoria is wrong - it is now broken and needs to be fixed.

Dianne Hadden

Ballarat

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