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Monday, 11 November 2002
Page: 6031


Senator Ludwig asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 16 September 2002:

(1) How do Regional Law Hotlines operate.

(2) Is the hotline a referral service only or is legal advice provided.

(3) What are the hours of operation for each of the Regional Law Hotlines in Queensland.

(4) Do solicitors directly handle the calls taken through the Regional Law Hotlines in Queensland.

(5) How many solicitors are employed to answer questions on the Regional Law Hotline in Queensland.

(6) How is advice, if any, dispensed to the callers.

(7) What funding does each Regional Law Hotline provider in Queensland receive.


Senator Ellison (Minister for Justice and Customs) —The Attorney-General has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The Regional Law Hotline is a confidential, free, legal telephone service available to people living in 14 designated regional, rural and remote locations throughout Australia. This service uses the infrastructure that was established to support the Family Law Hotline. The Family Law Hotline is a confidential, free, national telephone service focussing on family law system information including details of relevant support services throughout Australia.

The Regional Law Hotline service is provided jointly by staff of the Regional and Family Law Hotline call centres and 14 participating Regional Law Hotline service providers. People who call the Regional or Family Law Hotlines (toll free on 1800 050 400 or 1800 050 321) can receive family law related information from the call centre staff. If they require legal advice or general legal information and they live in a designated area, then the call centre staff transfer the call to the corresponding Regional Law Hotline provider.

(2) No, the service is not a referral service only. Legal advice from the Regional Law Hotline service providers is available to people living in the designated areas who call either the Regional or Family Law Hotlines.

(3) The Regional and Family Law Hotlines operate Monday to Friday between 8 am and 8 pm excluding national public holidays. During these times family law and referral information is available to all callers. The following table shows the times the Queensland based Regional Law Hotline service providers are available to provide legal advice and general legal information:

Service Provider

Hours of Operation

Roma Community Legal Service

9 am to 5 pm Monday to Thursday

Western Queensland Justice Network

9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday

(4) Yes, there is a solicitor employed by each funded service to accept calls which are transferred by the Regional and Family Law Hotline call centres.

(5) Two2 solicitors are employed in Queensland to answer questions transferred by the Regional and Family Law Hotline call centres.

(6) Information and advice is provided to the callers over the telephone. Where it would be inappropriate for the service to provide advice, callers may be referred to other services for assistance.

(7) Each Regional Law Hotline provider in Queensland will receive funding of $50,000 for 2002-03.