Disquiet over women’s legal centre funding | The West Australian

Legal centres that help women experiencing domestic violence have expressed disappointed they may not see a historic funding boost promised to them in the federal budget.

In the May budget, the federal government earmarked $129 million over four years for women’s legal centres.

A press release announced “129.0 million … will be directed to women’s legal centres, to enable these providers to respond to increasing demand for domestic violence assistance”.

But a senior bureaucrat in the Attorney-General’s Department told Senate estimates on Tuesday the money could go to legal aid commissions, Aboriginal legal services and community legal services – not just specialist women’s legal services.

Attorney-General Michaelia Cash said it was a “misunderstanding”.

According to pro bono modelling commissioned by the group ahead of the budget and provided to the government, the NT required more than $31 million over four years because of significant and complex need there. Instead, it will receive about $1 million.

The Shadow Assistant Minister for Communities and the Prevention of Family Violence, Jenny McAllister, described the funding promise as “yet another cruel trick designed solely to produce an announcement, but with no intention to actually deliver when the need for action has never been greater”.

Source: Disquiet over women’s legal centre funding | The West Australian

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