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Tuesday, 15 November 1983
Page: 2747

Question No. 576

Mr Porter asked the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice, on 4 October 1983:

(1) What are the terms of reference of the inquiry to be conducted by Mr Joseph Harkins into Aboriginal legal aid.

(2) With regard to the inquiry (a) how will it be conducted, (b) what resources have been made available, (c) when is it expected to be completed, (d) will the report be made public, (e) what form of consultations will be taken following the report and (f) what is the estimated total cost.

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

(1) The inquiry was established in order to establish effective role definitions and co-ordination among the Aboriginal legal services and the other legal aid agencies in terms of:

the respective roles and responsibilities of Aboriginal Legal Services and other Australian Government, State, Territory and private legal assistance programs;

means of improving co-ordination and co-operation among these agencies to ensure that Aboriginals requiring legal assistance can readily obtain it;

the resources necessary to enable Aboriginal Legal Services to provide a full and adequate legal service for Aboriginals in the areas of their responsibility.

(2)(a) Mr Harkins will visit the head offices of Aboriginal Legal Services in each State and the Northern Territory and, as far as possible, all branch offices of the services. He will also visit Australian legal aid offices, State legal aid commissions, public defenders offices and community legal centres.

(b) Mr Harkins is being assisted by an officer of my Department's central office, and regional and area office staff as appropriate. The active support and co-operation of the National Aboriginal Conference has also been sought.

(c) The inquiry is expected to be completed early in 1984.

(d) Yes.

(e) I expect consultation to take place with the National Aboriginal Conference , Aboriginal Legal Services and other legal aid agencies as necessary.

(f) The cost of the consultancy is estimated to be $55,000. Departmental assistance is not costed separately.