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Additional support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services

The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP
Media Release

The Australian Government recognises the critical role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) play in ensuring First Nations people have access to culturally appropriate and safe legal assistance.

In recognition of the demands placed on ATSILS due to the rising cost of providing critical front-line services, the Government will provide $21 million in one-off additional funding to ATSILS from within existing resources of the Attorney-General’s Department.

This additional funding will be provided to the sector’s peak body, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS), for distribution to ATSILS in every state and territory to ensure ongoing access to justice for First Nations people.

This funding is in addition to over $440 million over five years under the National Legal Assistance Partnership that is dedicated to ATSILS.

It builds on the record $99 million First Nations Justice Package I announced with the Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney in October 2022, which included:

  • $13.5 million in additional funding to ATSILS to increase their capacity to provide culturally appropriate legal assistance in coronial inquiries; and
  • $1 million to build greater capacity in NATSILS to provide leadership across the Indigenous legal sector.

Today’s announcement reinforces the Government’s commitment to working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to achieve better justice outcomes, in line with targets 10 and 11 of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.