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Tuesday, 24 September 1974
Page: 1293

Senator MELZER (VICTORIA) - Can the AttorneyGeneral inform me of the number of legal aid offices that he has established? Can he tell the Senate whether the public is availing itself of this service to any degree? Further, can he indicate in what area of the law the bulk of the work is being done? Does the Attorney-General contemplate extending this service in any way?

Senator MURPHY - Offices have been set up in each of the capital cities. Some of them have not been formally opened yet, but they have been operating because they were able to build on the nucleus of what were formerly the Legal Services Bureaux. In addition a number of regional offices have been opened. Approximately a dozen have been opened. I regret that I am not able to give the exact figure now, but I will give it to the Senate. The offices have been dealing with a variety of problems. At the opening of the Melbourne office last Friday the Treasurer said that he had made some inquiries about the office at Brunswick, I think, and that in the short time it had been open-since about May- it had dealt with approximately 1,000 people with a variety of problems. Mostly they are problems that affect the ordinary person. They may be family, divorce, custody or maintenance problems or financial problems of one kind or another. They may be problems concerning tenancies. They may be the kind of difficulties that migrants run into. They are the ordinary problems that beset persons in the lower income groups.

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