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Wednesday, 3 December 2003
Page: 23746


Mr McClelland asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 19 August 2003:

(1) Has he received a report on the operation of the Regional Law Hotline; if so, (a) when, (b) who prepared the report, and (c) does the report identify options for changes to the Regional Law Hotline.

(2) How much has been spent on the Regional Law Hotline (a) in total, and (b) in each financial year.

(3) Through which programs has this funding been provided and how much has been provided through each program (a) in total, and (b) in each financial year.

(4) To which agencies and organisations has this funding been provided and how much has been provided to each agency and organisation (a) in total, and (b) in each financial year.


Mr Ruddock (Attorney-General) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Both the previous Attorney-General and I have received briefs from the Department on the operation of the Regional Law Hotline.

(a) The Department forwarded briefs to his office in July 2002, January, May and June 2003, and to my office in October 2003.

(b) The briefs were prepared by officers in the Family Pathways Branch of the Family Law and Legal Assistance Division of the Department.

(c) The Department's January and May briefs canvassed some policy options for potential changes to the Hotline.

(2) Set out below are the amounts spent on the Regional Law Hotline (a) in total, and (b) in each financial year since the commencement of the Regional Law Hotline in September 2002:

FINANCIAL YEAR

AMOUNT SPENT $

2001-02

709,817.12

2002-03

697,250.96

2003-04 (to 31 August 2003)

347,160.80

TOTAL

$1,754,228.88

It should be noted that Regional Law Hotline service providers are able to use the Regional Law Hotline funding for other services (including other telephone services and face to face advice) when not taking calls transferred from the Regional Law Hotline service.

(3) The Regional Law Hotline is funded through the Community Legal Services Program. The table above shows the amounts provided for the Regional Law Hotline through this program (a) in total, and (b) in each financial year.

(4) Below is a table setting out which agencies and organisations this funding has been provided to and how much has been provided (a) in total, and (b) in each financial year:

REGIONAL LAW HOTLINE SERVICE PROVIDERS

2001-02 $

2002-03 $

2003-04 $ to 31 August 2003

TOTAL $

Albany Community Legal Centre

50,000.00

50,000.00

25,000.00

125,000.00

Albury/Wodonga Community Legal Service

50,000.00

50,000.00

25,000.00

125,000.00

Far West Community Legal Service

50,000.00

50,000.00

25,000.00

125,000.00

Goldfields Community Legal Centre

50,000.00

50,000.00

25,000.00

125,000.00

Riverland Community Legal Service

51,532.04

50,000.00

25,000.00

126,532.04

Roma Community Legal Service

54,614.17

25,000.00

25,000.00

104,614.17

Shoalcoast Community Legal Centre

50,000.00

50,000.00

25,000.00

125,000.00

South East Community Legal Service

50,908.00

50,000.00

25,000.00

125,908.00

Western Queensland Justice Network (Legal Aid Queensland)

50,000.00

50,000.00

22,727.27

122,727.27

Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania

50,000.00

50,000.00

25,000.00

125,000.00

Legal Aid Commission of Western Australia

50,000.00

50,000.00

25,000.00

125,000.00

Legal Services Commission of South Australia

50,000.00

50,000.00

25,000.00

125,000.00

Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission

50,000.00

50,000.00

22,727.27

122,727.27

Victoria Legal Aid

52,154.99

50,000.00

25,000.00

127,154.99

Sub total

709,209.20

675,000.00

345,454.54

1,729,663.74

OTHER PAYMENTS

Robinson Education Centre

150.00

-

-

150.00

Law Institute of Victoria

457.92

-

-

457.92

National Promotions Pty Ltd

-

8,520.00

-

8,520.00

HMA Blaze Pty Ltd

-

8,264.96

-

8,264.96

National Capital Printing Pty Ltd

-

3,291.00

-

3,291.00

Swell Design Group Pty Ltd

-

2,175.00

-

2,175.00

National Rural Health Alliance Inc.

-

-

1,007.82

1,007.82

Pharmacy Guild of Australia

-

-

650.00

650.00

Australia Post

-

-

48.44

48.44

Total

709,817.12

697,250.96

347,160.80

1,754,228.88

As mentioned above the Regional Law Hotline service providers are able to use the Regional Law Hotline funding for other services (including other telephone services and face to face advice) when not taking calls transferred from the Regional Law Hotline service.

The Regional Law Hotline uses infrastructure set up for the Family Law Hotline call centre. The call centre is operated on behalf of the Department by Centrelink. The call centre is funded from the Family Relationships Services Program.

Costs associated with the call centre have not been included in the tables above. However, an apportionment of these costs based on the ratio of Regional Law Hotline calls to all calls handled by the call centre is shown in the table below.

FINANCIAL YEAR

APPORTIONED CALL CENTRE COSTS $

2001-02

29,852.46

2002-03

13,650.64

2003-04 (to 31 August 2003)

5,247.75

TOTAL

$48,750.85