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Independent Review of the National Legal Assistance Partnership

The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP
Media Release

Today, the Independent Review of the National Legal Assistance Partnership (NLAP) Final Report by Dr Warren Mundy has been released.

The NLAP is a $2.4 billion agreement between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments to fund vital legal assistance services for some of Australia’s most vulnerable people. The current agreement expires on 30 June 2025.

The NLAP funds Legal Aid Commissions, Community Legal Centres, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services.

The Review also considered Commonwealth funding of legal assistance services outside NLAP including Family Violence Prevention Legal Services.

Dr Mundy was asked to consider how future arrangements could better provide access for justice for all who need it.

The Final Report makes 39 recommendations and identifies a range of issues that affect the sector’s capacity to deliver these important legal services.

The Review identifies the need for:

  • increased investment in access to justice and frontline services to ensure essential services are delivered to Australia’s most marginalised people,
  • sustainable sector reform to strengthen the long-term capacity and capability of the sector, e.g. through the development of workforce and enabling capabilities,
  • funding arrangements to deliver better justice outcomes for First Nations peoples and embed the Closing the Gap commitment, and
  • funding arrangements to be streamlined to reduce funding fragmentation, improve quality of data and data collection, and develop more meaningful reporting requirements.

The review will inform recommendation of future funding arrangements ahead of the expiry of the current NLAP on 30 June 2025.

The Commonwealth, states and territories will carefully consider the report and continue working together to agree on how best to support the sector to provide access to justice in the next partnership agreement from 1 July 2025.

Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus KC

“Legal assistance is essential to ensuring access to justice and equality before the law.

“The legal assistance sector provides vital, specialised and community-focused services that help people at some of the most challenging times in their life.

“On behalf of the Commonwealth and state and territory governments, I sincerely thank Dr Mundy for his work conducting this thorough review.

“I also acknowledge everyone in the legal assistance sector who engaged with the review and provided essential insights into the critical issues facing the sector.

“The Albanese Labor Government recognises the pressing needs facing the sector. We will continue to work with the states and territories towards achieving an outcome that delivers greater access to justice for Australians.”

Quotes attributable to Dr Warren Mundy

“My report was informed by months of consultation with stakeholders across the country – I conducted in excess of 150 meetings with service providers, government agencies and other stakeholders and received over 130 submissions. I heard about the challenges they are facing and how increased funding and improved public administration would improve access to justice for the most vulnerable members of our communities.

“I hope that this report lays the foundation for governments across Australia to overhaul how access to justice is supported in this country, particularly for Indigenous Australians, women and children.”