CPSU/CSA Response to Legal Aid WA Annual Report
Legal Aid WA (LAWA) is a critical public service stretched to the limit.
As published in their 2017-18 Annual Report, they have seen increases in; services to victims of family violence by 22%, increased family law mediations by 18%, and telephone calls to their Infoline by 2%.
These figures continue a trend of LAWA increasing services over recent years. Grants of legal aid are 15% higher than they were three years ago. And yet funding has been cut.
As stated by Jane Crisford, Chair of LAWA, in their Annual Report;
“A strong financial position enabled us to cover a modest deficit on the State side by drawing on our own reserves without further cuts to services.”
Rikki Hendon, CPSU/CSA Assistant Secretary says the state and federal governments must come to the table with funding to ensure Legal Aid WA can continue to serve Western Australians in need.
“It is concerning - and unsustainable - that Legal Aid WA had to draw on their cash reserves in the last financial year to provide legal assistance to Western Australians in need.”
“Legal Aid provides a critical service to make sure those who are most vulnerable in our society get honest representation and fairness within the legal system.
“Navigating legal affairs for many people is near-impossible alone and without the incredible work of Legal Aid WA we risk seeing significant injustices in this state.”