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Programme 1.5: Indigenous law and justice

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The objective of this programme is to contribute to Outcome 1 by protecting and promoting the rule of law and building a safe, secure and resilient Australia. Details of financial results for administered items are provided in Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements.

Following the 2013 federal election, responsibility for most Indigenous community safety and justice programmes transferred to the Indigenous Affairs Group within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. We continue to work with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to ensure that our work complements their programmes and is contributing to improving safety in communities across Australia.

Achievements contributing to programme deliverables

Indigenous Legal Assistance Programme

The department continues to administer funding to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services to deliver high-quality, culturally-sensitive legal assistance services under the Indigenous Legal Assistance Programme (previously known as the Indigenous Legal Assistance and Policy Reform Programme). The majority of service outlets are located in regional and remote areas. Outreach service delivery models are employed to ensure legal assistance services are available at court circuits and bush courts.

Assistance is provided mainly in criminal law matters (84 per cent), with 11 per cent civil law matters and approximately five per cent family law matters. Approximately 33 per cent of clients are 24 years of age or younger.

The department also administered the National Indigenous Legal Professional of the Year Award 2014 and the Indigenous Law Student of the Year Prize 2014. The awards recognise the outstanding achievements of Indigenous Australians working or studying in the legal profession. Judged by the Law Council of Australia, the National Indigenous Legal Professional of the Year is awarded to a solicitor or barrister who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to providing legal representation, advice or assistance and championing the rights of Indigenous persons in a legal environment. The Indigenous Law Student of the Year is presented to a candidate with outstanding academic achievement and community involvement. The 2014 awards were presented to the successful candidates at the World Indigenous Legal Conference hosted by the Indigenous Lawyers Association of Queensland in Brisbane on 26 June 2014.

Results against key performance indicators

Table 10: Results against key performance indicator, Programme 1.5

Key performance indicator
Results
Improved access to justice for Indigenous people

2013–14: Achieved—trend information is not available as this is a new key performance indicator set out in the Portfolio Budget Statements

The department has contributed to improving access to justice for Indigenous Australians by funding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services through the Indigenous Legal Assistance Programme. Demand for this type of service continues with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services provided assistance in 86,949 case matters, 90,103 advices and 29,436 duty lawyer matters in 2013–14.

Funding was provided to six recipients under the Native Title Anthropologist Grants Programme. All funding was provided as three-year grants to 2015–16 except for a grant to the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council, which was for one year.

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