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Investing in access to justice and improving community safety

The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP
Media Release

The Albanese Labor Government is delivering significant investments to strengthen community safety, restore accountability and integrity in government and improve access to justice for all Australians.  

Improving Australians’ access to justice

The Albanese Government is providing an urgent injection of $44.1 million in 2024-25 to provide an immediate funding boost to the legal assistance sector to ensure that more Australians have access to justice and equality before the law.  

The current National Legal Assistance Partnership (NLAP) expires in June 2025. We have heard the sector's call for a funding boost before the NLAP expires. Together with state and territory governments we are currently considering a review of the NLAP.

Keeping Australians safe

The Albanese Government is delivering significant investments to strengthen community safety, including improving information sharing to better equip law enforcement to tackle crime such as gender-based violence.

The Albanese Government has committed $109.9 million to further enhance the National Criminal Intelligence System (NCIS) and improve information-sharing nationally to allow for better law enforcement responses to criminal activity.

The NCIS provides law enforcement officers across Australia with near real time access to cross-border policing information and criminal intelligence.

The NCIS provides opportunities to enhance the safety of women and children by providing police officers with access to key information from multiple agencies and systems on a single national database, allowing them to see relevant risk information such as domestic and family violence orders or outstanding warrants.  

This secure system enables front-line officers to access information they need, when they need it, to address and prevent criminal activity.

The Albanese Government has also invested an additional $11 million in the 2024-25 Budget for a mobile app and secure website that will enable all Australians to easily and swiftly protect their identity credentials from cyber criminals, building on the success of the Credential Protection Register.

We have also announced $161.3 million over four years to establish the National Firearms Register, and to support extensive reform of Commonwealth, state and territory firearms management systems.

The National Firearms Register is the most significant improvement in Australia's firearms management systems in almost 30 years and will keep our community and police safer.

As announced last month, we are committing an additional $14.2 million over two financial years from 2024–25 to improve community safety in Alice Springs and surrounds. This funding will deliver additional policing and other community safety support measures as part of our commitment to Strengthening Community Safety in Central Australia.

Tackling transnational, serious and organised crime

After nearly a decade of Coalition mismanagement leaving Australians vulnerable to drug trafficking, terrorism financing and child exploitation, the Albanese Government is committed to taking action to ensure that Australians are safe from serious crime.

We are investing $166.4 million to implement proposed reforms to Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime, including to support businesses by delivering comprehensive education and guidance.  

As part of broader efforts to tackle transnational, serious and organised crime, we are also boosting capabilities with a further $48.7 million in funding for the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission to enhance operational activities and core capabilities.

Restoring integrity and accountability to government decision-making

The Albanese Government is investing $206.5 million over four years to deliver a user-focused, accessible, efficient and independent Administrative Review Tribunal.  

Each year, thousands of Australians will rely on the new Tribunal to independently review government decisions that have major, life-altering impacts – decisions such as whether an older Australian receives an age pension, whether a veteran is compensated for a service injury, or whether a participant of the NDIS receives funding for essential support.

The Government will provide the new Tribunal with flexible, demand-driven funding based on case lodgements, which will allow the Tribunal to proactively manage its resources to enable timely decision-making across all parts of the Tribunal’s jurisdiction and resolve the cases it receives.

The Albanese Labor Government’s Administrative Review Tribunal will deliver real and lasting benefits for thousands of Australians and improve government decision making.  

Restoring integrity to refugee protection

The Albanese Government will provide $115.6 million over four years to restore integrity to Australia’s refugee protection system, providing a fair go to genuine asylum seekers and helping to break the business model of people who seek to exploit the system.  

The previous government oversaw record numbers of onshore Protection visa applications and a system that was not equipped to deal with them.

The Nixon Report found that delays in processing – and reviewing – Protection visa applications were ‘motivating bad actors to take advantage by lodging increasing numbers of non-genuine applications for protection’, which is why the Government will invest in:

  • The establishment of two “migration hubs” in Western Sydney and Melbourne – innovative new court facilities that will be dedicated to hearing, and expeditiously resolving, migration and protection matters; and
  • An additional eight judges – four in the Federal Circuit and Family Court and four in the Federal Court – to resolve the significant backlogs of migration and protection applications left by the previous government.

This investment builds on the $163.5 million package of reforms the Government announced in October 2023.

Investing in better legal outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The Albanese Government is investing $20.8 million to improve outcomes for First Nations people at all stages of the native title process.

  • $20.2 million over four years to the Federal Court of Australia and National Native Title Tribunal to preserve culturally and historically significant native title records and accelerate the resolution of unresolved native title claims through the expansion of its case management and mediation model, which works with First Nations people to achieve the outcomes they want for their communities; and
  • $0.5 million over two years to assist the Australian Law Reform Commission to review the future acts regime within the Native Title Act as recommended in the final inquiry of the Joint Standing Committee on Northern Australia into the destruction of 46,000-year-old caves in Western Australia.

We are also extending the First Nations Family Dispute Resolution pilot program for a further two years, committing $11.7 million to ensure culturally specific and appropriate dispute resolution services can be embedded in the community.

Combatting Modern Slavery

We are committed to tackling modern slavery overseas and at home. We are investing $2.5 million to deliver Labor’s election commitment to undertake an audit of Federal Government procurement procedures and supply chains.  

We believe the Commonwealth should lead by example. This audit will act as a blueprint for future action from governments to review their supply chains and ensure they are not importing goods that are the product of forced labour.