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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, delivered the following statement to the Federal Parliament.

“Last week the Government finally released the Independent Review of the National Legal Assistance Partnership.

“The report included 39 welcome recommendations, most notably an urgent injection of funding, because it’s clear that our community legal services are stretched to the limit trying to meet increasing demand. Indeed a report published by Community Legal Centres Australia in March found that centres were forced to turn away more than 368,000 people seeking help in 2022-23, averaging a thousand people per day.

“Now I’ve met with the sector, and I can attest to the fact that the situation in Tasmania is even more acute than on the mainland. In fact it’s no exaggeration to say Tassie services really are at breaking point.

“The Review was handed to the Attorney-General in March, giving the Government ample time to consider the recommendations and provide sorely needed funds in the Budget. But it didn’t, and the sector and the community continue to suffer.

“So, with the National Legal Assistance Partnership set to expire next year, it’s vital federal and state governments consider the Review’s findings, accept the recommendations and establish a much better national agreement to adequately fund and structure legal services.

“Until this happens, all the Government announcements about protecting vulnerable people, including women, children and Indigenous people, is just spin.”