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Thursday, 7 June 1984
Page: 2793

(Question No. 686)

Senator Kilgariff asked the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice, on 27 March 1984:

(1) What are the responsibilities of the Aboriginal Legal Aid Service with regard to the victims of crime.

(2) Is the Aboriginal Legal Aid Service responsible for providing victims of crime with legal aid and with compensation; if not, will the Federal Government move to provide the Aboriginal Legal Aid Service with funds for the purpose of assisting victims of crime.

Senator Ryan —The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) There is no single Aboriginal Legal Aid Service but 18 separate Aboriginal legal services. Aboriginal legal services have a responsibility to provide free legal advice and representation to all of their clients, including those who are victims of crime, to ensure that their legal needs are met.

(2) Aboriginal legal services, whilst being available to assist clients who are victims of crime to service their compensation claims through the appropriate channels, do not provide compensation to these clients. The Federal Government does not intend to provide Aboriginal legal services with funds for the purpose of compensating clients who are victims of crime. These clients have the same rights and avenues of redress as other Australian citizens to claim compensation under the relevant provisions of State and Territory legislation relating to criminal injuries compensation.