Victoria Legal Aid

Elevating our First Nations services

Changes to our First Nations services include an updated program name and new director First Nations Services role.

Wednesday 3 May 2023 11:00pm

In 2016 we established an Aboriginal Services program, led by the associate director Aboriginal Services, to facilitate our organisation's commitment to improving access to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Victoria. Since then, our approach to working with First Nations clients and employing First Nations staff has evolved considerably, as has the size and complexity of work undertaken by the program area, which has steadily grown.

To reflect this growth and the significance of the program area we have decided to elevate the head of the program to director First Nations Services. This complements other changes we have implemented to our executive structure in recent years, to support the increasing complexity of our organisation. This was and remains an identified role.

Louise Glanville CEO said 'the director of First Nations Services plays a significant role in leading the organisation to improve how we deliver legal assistance services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities so that they are culturally appropriate and responsive.'

We are also updating the name of the directorate to First Nations services. This provides consistency in our terminology and better reflects feedback from our First Nations staff network.

Associate Director Lawrence Moser will be appointed on an acting basis until his planned departure from Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) in mid-2023, and a competitive recruitment process has occurred for the new position.

Reflecting on this, Lawrence said 'building our relationships with Aboriginal community-controlled organisations has been a key part of this role for me. It's crucial to driving better outcomes for our First Nations clients, ae well as through advising service delivery areas and contributing to strategic advocacy and law reform. I was honoured to represent VLA at the Yoorrook Royal Commission.'

'I have taken the decision to move on from VLA in the middle of the year, though I will continue my work for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. I firmly believe the organisation is well placed to take this next step in the evolution of providing culturally safe services for our clients and culturally safe workplaces our for staff, by elevating this role.'

The new director First Nations Services position will be advertised shortly. The role will continue to focus on developing new connections between our organisation and a variety of Aboriginal community-controlled organisations. It will continue strengthening existing ties with Aboriginal legal services such as the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS) and Djirra, and act as an interface mechanism between our organisation and the community, to honour the principles of Aboriginal self-determination.

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Reviewed 04 May 2023