Update on the Means Test Review

Update on the Means Test Review

Monday, 6 August 2018

Over the past two years we have undertaken a comprehensive review of our means test. The aim of the Means Test Review was to establish a fairer and more easily understood means test to ensure our services are properly targeted to those most in need. Our review has now finalised and we are pleased to announce that we have started delivering key recommendations of the means test review.

Making the means test fairer, simpler and easier to understand is an important task for Victoria Legal Aid. In recent years the justice system has continued to grow and change and this has impacts on Victoria Legal Aid's financial resources. This means that the changes to the means test recommended by the Review cannot all be implemented at this time.

We are currently focussing on delivering 13 recommendations to help make the means test fairer and more transparent. Eleven of the 13 the changes will come into effect on 1 October 2018. The most significant change arising from the review is the narrowing of the definition of a ‘financially associated person’ – to only include an applicant’s spouse or de facto partner. This will help make the test fairer and more accessible to those experiencing disadvantage. The recommendations relating to the development of a means test calculator and training of support workers will be implemented later this year.

Training and resources will be provided in the coming weeks to help staff and practice partners understand these changes.

While we are working hard to implement the 13 changes through VLA’s existing resources, there is still more to be done. The remaining recommendations in the review cannot be achieved without investment and support from State and Commonwealth governments. To keep this important project progressing we will continue to work with both levels of government to identify opportunities for investment.

Thank you to all those who took part in the consultations and helped inform our Means Test Review.

More information

For more information on the means test review, read our public report, or email meanstestreview@vla.vic.gov.au.

 

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