MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICE OF WA, 13 May 2010 MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICE OF WA, 13 May 2010
ALSWA welcomes announcement of additional funding
The Aboriginal Legal Service of WA (ALSWA) has welcomed the Federal Budget announcement that more funding will be available to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS).
“Our staff at ALSWA work under enormous pressure as the demand on our services continues to increase. As a statewide body which receives no funding from the State Government, this funding boost will go some way towards easing that pressure” said Mr Dennis Eggington ALSWA CEO.
The Government will provide an additional $34.9 million over four years to support ATSILS across the country. ALSWA admits that while this money won’t provide all of the funding that is required, it will definitely assist.
“It has been a real struggle to keep up with the workload as more and more of our people seek our services” said Mr. Eggington, adding that ALSWA lawyers in some regional areas could see as many as 30 to100 clients in one day.
ALSWA believes that as long as WA adopts legislation such as move-on notices, stop and search laws and mandatory sentencing, Indigenous people will continue to be over-policed and over-represented in the criminal justice system.
“We are pleased that the Federal Government has recognised the essential role that ATSILS play within the criminal justice system and by providing this funding to us we can continue to deliver a professional and culturally appropriate legal service for our people”.