Legal Aid cuts will hurt the most vulnerable

I WRITE in response to the report “Legal Aid cuts unjust to low earners, says lawyer” in Wednesday’s Bendigo Advertiser.

We share Megan Aumair’s concern in relation to the unjust impact of recent Legal Aid cuts on low-income people. 

It is worth noting that these cuts, prompted by a $3.1 million shortfall in Victoria Legal Aid’s budget this financial year, are the result of increased demand on VLA services due to the state government’s increased prosecution of family violence matters. 

We heartily support increased government and police focus on family violence, but not without a commensurate increase in funding to account for the flow-on effect upon Victoria’s justice system.

We acknowledge and applaud the great work of lawyers like Megan who step into the breach and act pro bono to support low-income clients. 

And we acknowledge VLA’s efforts to quarantine as far as possible the state’s most vulnerable from the effects of their funding cuts. 

But at the end of the day something has to give. 

The community and the justice system are significantly diminished when the most vulnerable in our community are sacrificed to the budget bottom line. 

Anna Howard,

 principal lawyer, 

Loddon Campaspe

Community Legal Centre

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