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Legal Aid NSW launches Aboriginal Client Services Strategy 2019-2023 and Aboriginal Employment and Career Development Strategy

27 Sep 2019

We are working to increase access to justice for Aboriginal people and foster strong partnerships with other organisations that serve Aboriginal clients.

The Aboriginal Client Services Strategy 2019–2023 will guide Legal Aid NSW in our provision of services to Aboriginal people and communities over the next four years.

Developed in consultation with our partners, the plan will help us ensure that we provide high-quality services to Aboriginal clients and that we can work to effect systemic change that will benefit Aboriginal people and communities.

We also plan to review our eligibility policies with a view to improving access to legal aid for Aboriginal people. In 2017–18, 14.2 percent of our case grants and in-house duty services were delivered to Aboriginal clients.

Under the strategy, we aim to improve access to our services for Aboriginal people across our three legal practice areas. We also aim to lift the provision of services to Aboriginal people through Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services across NSW.

We will ensure our service provision is culturally competent by offering training to our own lawyers and lawyers on Legal Aid NSW panels and to Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program staff, by developing service standards for each major practice area, and by forging connections between our offices around NSW and local Aboriginal communities.

Our partnerships, particularly partnerships with private practitioners and with the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Ltd, will be at the centre of these initiatives.

We will also work to identify and address systemic issues that contribute to the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in our justice system.

Earlier in 2019 we launched the Aboriginal Employment and Career Development Strategy, which aims to support our employment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff. Under this strategy we aim to increase our employment target to 11 percent to ensure that our workforce better reflects our Aboriginal client base.