Federal Budget 2021-2022

The Federal Budget 2021-22 (the Budget) includes the biggest funding boost for legal assistance in over a decade, and perhaps ever. The community legal sector is likely to benefit from many of the Budget measures. This is quite remarkable considering that the community legal sector was facing the funding cliff – a 30% cut to Commonwealth funding – just four years ago.

These Budget measures are in addition to the current levels provided through the National Legal Assistance Partnerships (NLAP)  -the main overarching funding agreement for community legal centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services and legal aid commissions. 

While giving many Centres the opportunity to address financial viability or sustainability issues, the provisions in this Budget also offer the ability to enhance a range of services to our communities for the next four years. 

Significantly, provisions include increased legal assistance service capacity for: 

  • women and children experiencing family violence  
  • people with mental health conditions 
  • survivors of child sexual assault 
  • young people and children 

 

The additional funding – the timing

As your national peak, CLCs Australia have been advocating for the Commonwealth to get this money out the door to Centres asap to make up for any loss of COVID-19 funding. However, on current timetables, it does not seem possible that this will happen before 2022. The majority of states and territories have been waiting for this funding for six months.

We are doing what we can to get the Commonwealth to speed up the time frame.

We have made the Attorney-General well aware of this and offered to help in future planning to ease the transition where one funding stream is ending and a new one is being made available. 

The additional funding – the timing

Most of the new allocations for legal assistance money (anything that is for 4 years) will be put through NLAP. States and Territories will make decisions about local allocations.  

 Distribution from the federal government to the states and territories is complete and the next step is decision making about decision making about allocations within states and territories.

Summary

Please bookmark this page. Understanding how the different allocation will be implemented –both through NLAP and then at the State and Territory level– is an evolving situation. Please keep coming back to this page for the latest information. 

Implementation

The majority of states and territories have not distributed the funding yet to centres, with only Western Australia doing so as of November 2021. We have collated information of when the funding is likely to be received by centres (where this is known) and what has been the distribution of women’s legal centre funding between providers.