Securing our financial sustainability

Securing our financial sustainability

Thursday, 15 August 2019

After several years operating with a deficit, we have ended the 2018–19 year with a balanced budget. We’ve achieved this by focusing on some internal efficiencies in the first six months of this calendar year. We have also been offered some one-off temporary funding from the Department of Justice and Community Safety for 2019–20, while all departments and agencies’ baseline funding is being reviewed. We are still planning to implement some service delivery changes to manage service demand. Some of these are a matter of good practice, and others will require further consultation in order to best operationalise them.

The preparations for implementing these changes will inform our engagement with government’s baseline funding review and the National Partnership Agreement (NPA) negotiations. These are critical opportunities to grow our revenue, including from the Commonwealth.

Consultation on changes

We are commencing a consultation period to seek feedback on a range of proposals including on potential unintended impacts or practical considerations for implementation. 

We are considering removing all remaining duty lawyer services and grants of aid for adults for personal safety intervention orders. This change would not affect current services to children and we are not proposing any changes to family violence intervention order legal services. We may also reduce family law duty lawyer support and suspending legal assistance for family law property matters outside of pilot programs. 

We are working with our child protection partners to address some existing practices, to contribute to creating more efficient court proceedings and a better experience for children and families. This will include:

  • requiring lawyers to seek adjournments and pursue costs when DHHS does not provide a report within the legislated timeframe of three days before hearing.
  • removing interim accommodation order (IAO) adjournment fees and only paying for appearances where there is substantive progress of a matter.
  • limiting funding for legal representation for Children’s Court conferencing to only one conciliation conference per matter.
  • limiting eligibility for grants of assistance to exclude parents who have not lived with their child for some time. Exceptions would apply where this is due to family violence.

We may need to reduce access to Independent Children’s Lawyers, and reduce family law duty lawyer support to ensure the sustainability of our family law services.

We are also consulting on the impacts of removing the civil guideline for grants of assistance for infringements.

Possible future measures

We will raise the summary crime demand growth problems we’re experiencing as a part of the baseline funding review. We are considering options to better align our summary crime services to capacity and will consult further on these before implementation, depending on the outcome of the baseline funding review and other changes to the system. 

In light of the significant growth in the number and complexity of matters in indictable crime in recent years, we are seeking to find more efficient ways to manage trials and to make systemic improvements with our stakeholders.

More information 

For more detail about these measures, including how you can provide feedback on the proposals, see Financial sustainability.

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