Three Indigenous people silhouetted at sunset by the ocean

Indigenous Legal Assistance Program must be retained

As part of the 2019 Budget, the government yesterday announced plans to disband the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program (ILAP).

The ILAP funds organisations to deliver culturally appropriate legal assistance services to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people receive the help needed to overcome legal problems and fully exercise their legal rights.

Tammy Solonec, Indigenous Rights Lead, Amnesty International Australia said:

“It’s disappointing that the Government has decided to withdraw the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program, despite an independent review recommending retaining a standalone program. Amnesty joins National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) and the Change the Record coalition in urging the Attorney General to retain the program.

“With Indigenous people so overrepresented in Australia’s prisons, services like this are vital. Indigenous communities are in the best position to guide culturally appropriate and safe justice solutions. The withdrawal of ILAP takes away some of that input and control, and leads us further away from self-determination.”