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Tuesday, 1 February 1994
Page: 100

(Question No. 599)

Mr Nugent asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 16 November 1993:

  (1) What direct monetary assistance or benefit is available on an individual basis to Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders under programs operating within the Minister's portfolio.

  (2) Which forms of assistance or benefits are not means tested.

  (3) How many persons received each form of assistance or benefit in 1992-93.

Mr Lavarch —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

  (1) The Attorney-General's Department administers two such programs. Following recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the Office of Legal Aid and Family Services administers funds which provide reimbursement to State and Territory Legal Aid Commissions for costs incurred in providing legal representation for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in relation to: (i) coronial inquests into the deaths of family members who have died whilst in custody; and (ii) complaints against the police.

  The Department also participates in the Aboriginal Cadet Program sponsored by the Department of Employment, Education and Training which provides financial and other assistance to Aboriginal Legal Cadets.

  (2) A means test is applied by each Legal Aid Commission in relation to grants of legal assistance. No means test is applied under the Aboriginal Cadet Program.

  (3) In 1992-93 three persons received legal assistance in relation to coronial inquests and four persons received assistance under the Aboriginal Cadet Program.