The NLAP Review is in, now it’s time for governments to act

The Independent Review of the National Legal Assistance Partnership (NLAP) recommendations must be committed to, and fast. 

We need certainty. We need funding. We need to do more to support Aboriginal women and children’s safety. Aboriginal women’s lives matter.  

This week, Djirra welcomed the release of the Independent Review of the NLAP.  

Led by eminent person Dr. Warren Mundy, the Review makes clear the urgent need for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia to have significantly better access to culturally safe, holistic legal and non-legal assistance wherever they live.  

The current NLAP is set to expire in just over a year, with Djirra having no guarantee of funding beyond June 2025. 

“We urgently require guaranteed and expanded long-term funding beyond the next 13 months,” says Djirra CEO Antoinette Braybrook AM. “Without it, we risk losing already overworked staff which puts Aboriginal women and children’s lives at risk.” 

Legal assistance for vulnerable people is not about being in court at the end of a process.  

Rather, it is an essential early intervention that saves lives and prevents untold and hugely costly damage to individuals, families and the State.  

For Djirra and other family violence prevention and legal services (FVPLSs) this includes essential, culturally safe and holistic legal and non-legal assistance to Aboriginal women and children experiencing family and sexual violence.  

The Review is in. Now it’s time for Governments to act. 

Djirra calls on Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments to immediately commit to Dr Mundy’s recommendations for:  

  • Quarantining & indexing of FVPLS funding 
  • Applying loading to allow for the complexity & longevity of supports 
  • Reallocating funding from mainstream legal services to Aboriginal community controlled legal services so that Aboriginal women are first offered culturally safe legal assistance 
  • National coverage for FVPLSs  
  • Longer term agreements, 5 years+ 

The Department of Social Services also must- finally- start funding FVPLS non-legal services. 

These non-legal services are integral to the integrity of the holistic service model.  

“We are extremely concerned by the absence of new funding in the Victorian and Federal Budgets for frontline, specialist family violence services for Aboriginal women and children, Ms Braybrook says.  

“We also need the Department of Social Services to step up. They contribute virtually nothing io Djirra’s critical non-legal assistance and early intervention programs that keep Aboriginal women and children safe.” 

There is little time for governments to agree the successor to NLAP, given the Federal election must happen by May 2025 with elections in Queensland, Western Australia and Northern Territory to all happen by then too.  

Join Djirra in our calls to Federal, State and Territory Governments to urgently take action now.