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2019–20 annual report objective 2. Progress our vision through collaboration and policy leadership

Queensland Legal Assistance Forum

The QLAF helps member organisations address legal assistance issues by facilitating cooperative working relationships with other legal service providers in rural and regional areas. The Department of Justice and Attorney-General took over the secretariat support for the QLAF, RLAFs, and the specialist LAFs, from 1 December 2020. The QLAF met four times during the year.

In 2020, the QLAF began to develop a two-year strategic plan. Under the existing strategic plan, the QLAF has the following objectives:

  • to become better engaged, informed and connected with the RLAFs and working groups
  • to actively review the RLAFs’ regional plans and support RLAFs to develop plans
  • to facilitate opportunities for information sharing between legal services and social services sectors
  • to understand, influence and contribute to the practical implementation and application of the Human Rights Act 2019 with particular focus on ATSILS and other highly vulnerable cohorts
  • to seek funding to map the legal needs of, and legal assistance services for, marginalised and vulnerable people across Queensland.

There are five specialist forums under the QLAF:

  • Best Practice and Evidence Based Working Group—to promote cooperation and collaboration between legal and non-legal service providers to improve the quality and effectiveness of services and client outcomes through improved practice, efficient systems and professional, well-trained staff.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Service Planning Working Group—to promote cooperation and collaboration between legal assistance service providers and non-legal services, including social, community and health services working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • Mental Health Service Planning Working Group—to promote cooperation and collaboration between legal and non-legal service providers, including social, community and health services working with people with mental health issues, intellectual disability or cognitive impairment.
  • Children and Families Legal Assistance Forum—to encourage cooperation and collaboration between legal assistance service providers working with families and children and to promote good practice across legal assistance services in delivering legal and related services to families and children. The forum comprises a Steering Committee and two associated working groups:
    • a Training Committee
    • a Child Protection Service Delivery Committee.
  • Community Legal Education Legal Assistance Forum—to promote cooperation and collaboration between legal service providers who are delivering and initiating CLE activities. This allows service providers to share CLE information and resources to avoid duplication and fosters good CLE practice.

Regional Legal Assistance Forums

There are 12 RLAFs around the state, based around the regional Legal Aid Queensland offices. Until 1 December 2020, we continued to coordinate the work of those forums. The RLAFs aim to encourage collaborative and cooperative working relationships between legal aid service providers in each region. By working together service providers have been able to identify emerging legal needs in their communities and help determine which legal service is best placed to meet legal needs and ultimately reduce service delivery gaps. Six RLAFs now have a Collaborative Service Plan, providing a two-year guide for service delivery and development in their region.

RLAFs continue to broaden their memberships and collaborations in their regions. For example, several RLAFs have added to their membership representatives from their local Murri Court, Youth Justice office, and court registrars. This has proved very beneficial to streamlining access to justice and improving client outcomes by better collaboration with local agencies and the court.

The South-West Qld RLAF was successful in its application for funding under the CLE Collaboration Fund, which is offered annually. The fund is part of our CLE Strategy to resource collaborative partnerships which extend the reach of our CLE work. For more information about the fund, see Objective 1.

In 2020–21, we gave a $6000 grant to the South-West Qld RLAF to build on their ongoing school program in the region to present sessions on understanding the way behaviours can become unlawful. The ‘Schoolyard Antics or Criminal Conduct’ sessions will inform and educate young people, not just about the law, but the way it could potentially apply to them already each day, particularly if their behaviours escalate, the consequences if they enter the justice system, their rights if contacted by police, and the way they can access legal help.

Supporting community legal centres

We act as state program manager for CLCs, monitoring their financial reporting and ensuring service delivery targets are met. During 2020–21, we administered funding on behalf of state and federal governments to 33 organisations throughout Queensland (see Table 7 for more information).

The state government also provided $275,515 through its project funding account to the following organisations for research and evaluation projects:

  • Central Queensland Community Legal Centre
  • HUB Community Legal
  • LawRight
  • Women’s Legal Service Queensland
  • YFS Legal.

Thirty-two organisations received a one-off Commonwealth grant for COVID-19 frontline legal assistance services from a $5,146,944 pool of funding.

Twenty-nine funded organisations also received a share in the Commonwealth ICT funding pool totalling $1,001,867.61 in grants.

Extra funding was provided to five organisations:

  • Community Legal Centres Queensland – Intake and triage project ($15,397.61)
  • Gold Coast Community Legal Centre – Emergency building maintenance ($21,790)
  • HUB Community Legal – Queensland Foster and Kinship Care Legal Support ($100,000)
  • Prisoners’ Legal Service – Additional funding for parole board applications ($40,000)
  • Refugee and Immigration Legal Service – Additional support for asylum seeker detainees in Queensland ($39,765)
  • Women’s Legal Service – Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre and Southern Queensland Correctional Centre services ($40,000), and COVID-19 funding from Department of Child Safety, Women and Youth ($340,000).

Community legal centre

Federal government funding $

State government funding $

Total recurrent funding $

Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia Ltd.

225 060

160 135

385 195

ATSI Women's Legal Service NQ Inc.

381 625

271 535

653 160

Basic Rights Queensland Inc.

594 024

422 663

1 016 687

Bayside Community Legal Service Inc.

83 997

59 766

143 763

Brisbane North Community Legal Service

168 271

119 729

288 000

Cairns Community Legal Centre Inc.

478 251

340 287

818 538

Care Goondiwindi Association Inc.

86 452

61 512

147 964

Carers Queensland Inc.

293 955

293 955

Caxton Legal Centre Inc.

1 394 329

992 101

2 386 430


186 890

186 890

Central Queensland Community Legal Centre Inc.

445 425

316 931

762 356

Community Legal Centres Queensland

472 782

30 000

502 782

Court Network Incorporated

496 719

496 719

Environmental Defenders Office Ltd.

378 928

378 928

Gold Coast Community Legal Centre and Advice Bureau Inc.

722 102

513 794

1 235 896

HUB Community Legal

606 645

431 643

1 038 288


1 131 766

805 280

1 937 046

LGBTI Legal Service Inc.

249 529

249 529

Mackay Regional Community Legal Centre Inc.

269 090

191 464

460 554

Moreton Bay Regional Community Legal Service Inc.

84 211

59 918

144 129

North Queensland Women's Legal Service Inc.

780 709

1 013 494

1 794 203

Pine Rivers Community Legal Service

414 844

295 172

710 016

Prisoners' Legal Service Inc.

318 868

226 882

545 750

Queensland Advocacy Incorporated

378 101

269 029

647 130

Refugee & Immigration Legal Service Inc.

566 072

402 774

968 846

Suncoast Community Legal Service Inc.

292 184

207 896

500 080

Taylor Street Community Legal Service

291 638

207 450

499 088

Tenants Queensland Inc.

204 005

145 155

349 160

TASC National Ltd

1 110 121

789 879

1 900 000

Townsville Community Law

315 313

224 353

539 666

Western Queensland Justice Network (WQJN)

177 000

125 940

302 940

Women's Legal Service Inc. (WLS)

1 126 869

2 255 796

3 382 665

Youth Advocacy Centre Inc. (YAC)

270 352

192 363

462 715

YFS Legal

381 708

271 594

653 302


15 377 835

11 404 535

26 782 370

Table 7. Recurrent funding for CLCs from state and federal governments 2020–21


Law and legal service reform

In 2020–21, we continued to respond to policy and legislative reform proposals from state and federal government, commissions of inquiry and industry bodies.

We made the following submissions:

Criminal law and youth justice

  • Inquiry into the Criminal Code and Other Legislation (Wage Theft) Amendment Bill 2020 (Education, Employment and Small Business Parliamentary Committee)
  • Queensland Drug and Alcohol Court Legislation Review
  • Criminal Code (Consent and Mistake of Fact) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 (Queensland Law Reform Commission consultation)
  • Response to Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability’s Issues Paper on the Criminal justice system
  • Response to Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council’s Issues Paper on Penalties for assaults on police and other frontline emergency workers, corrective services officers and other public officers
  • Youth Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 (Legal Affairs and Safety Parliamentary Committee).

Family law, domestic and family violence, and child protection

  • Child Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 (Legal Affairs and Community Safety Parliamentary Committee)
  • House Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs’ Inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence.

Civil Justice

  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) consultation on the Australian Retail Credit Association’s application for reauthorisation
  • Australian Government Treasury’s consultation on the sale of add-on motor vehicle financial risk products
  • Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s (TIO) consultation on the TIO’s 2020 Terms of Reference Modernisation
  • Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications’ consultation on the Consumer Safeguards Review (Part C)
  • ACCC’s consultation on proposed changes to the Consumer Data Right Rules
  • Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department Review of the Privacy Act 1988
  • Australian Government Treasury’s Review of the Australian Payments System
  • Commonwealth Attorney-General Department’s consultation on the Bankruptcy Regulations 2021 – Exposure Draft
  • Australian Government Treasury’s consultation on Regulation of Claimant Intermediaries
  • ASIC’s consultation on implementing the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry (Financial Services Royal Commission) recommendation on reference checking and an information sharing protocol for financial advisers and mortgage brokers
  • Productivity Commission’s consultation on Right to repair issues
  • Inquiry into the National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Supporting Economic Recovery) Bill 2020 (Australian Government’s Economics Legislation Committee)
  • Australian Government Treasury’s consultation on Licensing debt management firms
  • Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department’s consultation on the Bankruptcy system and the impacts of coronavirus
  • ASIC’s consultation on Consumer remediation
  • ASIC’s consultation on the Financial Services Royal Commission recommendations regarding a deferred sales model for add-on insurance
  • Department of Justice and Attorney-General’s consultation on the Commonwealth Attorney-General Department’s proposed National Register of Enduring Powers of Attorney
  • Australian Government Treasury’s consultation paper on a reinsurance pool for cyclones and related flood damage
  • ASIC’s consultation on Using the product intervention power: continuing credit contracts.

COVID-19 legislation

  • Department of Justice and Attorney-General’s consultation on proposal to permanently retain provisions of the Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response-Proceedings and Other Matters) Regulation 2020
  • Queensland Health’s consultation on COVID-19 legislative measures extension
  • Department of Justice and Attorney-General’s consultation on using technology to make documents during COVID-19.

Stakeholder engagement

Working with government and justice system stakeholders

We supported government policy development and the justice system’s efficient management by collaborating with our colleagues in government and the wider justice system.

This involved participating in the:

  • Queensland Courts Safety and Risk Committee
  • Queensland Courts Users Stakeholder Group
  • Streamlining Criminal Justice Committee
  • Federal Circuit Court Stakeholder Group
  • Family Court Stakeholder Group
  • Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Court Working Group
  • Brisbane Domestic Violence Court Stakeholder Group
  • Brisbane Child Protection Court Stakeholder Group
  • Childrens Court Committees for Youth Justice and Child Protection
  • Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council
  • Bar Council
  • Queensland Sentencing Information Service
  • Bar Association of Queensland Access to Justice Committee, and Equal Opportunity and Discrimination Committee
  • Women’s Lawyers Association of Queensland Criminal Law Sub-Committee
  • Prisoners’ Legal Service Committee
  • Specialist Court, Referral and Support Services Steering Group
  • Mental Health Review Tribunal Stakeholder Meeting
  • Mental Health Court Stakeholder Meeting
  • Chief Justice’s COVID-19 meetings with Queensland Courts and the legal profession
  • Caxton Legal Service First Nations Working Group
  • Australian Bankers Association Consumer Outcomes Group
  • Insurance Council of Australia Consumer Liaison Forum
  • Australian Financial Complaints Authority Consumer Advisory Panel and Consumer Advocates Liaison Meeting
  • ASIC Regional Liaison Committee
  • ASIC Consumer Regulator Forum
  • Australian Prudential Regulation Authority Consumer Forum
  • Financial Literacy Action Groups Logan and Ipswich
  • ASIC Consumer Insurance Forum
  • Somerset Interagency Meeting
  • Brisbane Central Interagency Meeting
  • Banking Code Compliance Committee’s Small Business and Agri Business Advisory Panel
  • Queensland Human Rights Commission Human Rights Advocates Group.

We participated in the following Queensland Law Society policy committees:

  • Children’s Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Domestic and Family Violence
  • Family Law
  • Elder Law
  • Competition and Consumer Law
  • Banking and Finance
  • Access to Justice/Pro Bono Law.

We also participated in the Queensland Law Society Working Group for the Royal Commission Into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody 30 years anniversary event.

We also worked on issues affecting First Nations clients with:

  • Institute for Urban Indigenous Health
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service
  • Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service
  • Queensland Law Society
  • LawRight
  • Caxton Legal Centre
  • Community Legal Centres Queensland
  • Queensland Human Rights Commission
  • YFS Legal
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • Central Queensland University.

Legal Aid Queensland Stakeholder Meeting

The Legal Aid Queensland Stakeholder Meeting provides a regular forum for consultation with the legal profession and for discussing and managing stakeholder concerns. The group comprises nominated representatives from the Queensland Law Society and the Bar Association of Queensland and is chaired by Legal Aid Queensland’s CEO.

The group met twice during the year. During these meetings members were consulted on and provided feedback about:

  • our ongoing response to COVID-19
  • introduction of the Vaccine Preventable Disease requirement for practitioners on the MHRT Service Orders panel
  • the Legal Aid Queensland application form, which is being reviewed to improve client satisfaction with the application process
  • the re-introduction of a preferred supplier survey and development of training resources for preferred suppliers
  • the Preferred Supplier Agreement renewal and Criminal Law Duty Lawyer Tender.

Last updated 14 October 2021

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