TLA and TALS – working together at long last
Tasmania Legal Aid Chair Patrick Lunn was proud to sign our new Memorandum of Understanding with John Clark, chairman of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service.
Mr Clark said the MOU would “expand the wraparound service that not only addresses people going to court, but the mental health, the disabled health, and to try and knock the recidivism down and put programs in place that support the most important people in this – that is the individual clients that need the service”.
The MOU will see the two organisations working together to improve access to the legal system and give a stronger, more unified approach to First Nations justice and advocacy.
At the signing ceremony held at the Grand Chancellor in Hobart, TLA Chair Patrick Lunn said the MOU was an “opportunity for working more collaboratively with TALS” and formed the base of a new framework that would lead to greater cultural understanding for TLA staff.
“It’s really important because it means that both organisations come together in order to ensure that they can deliver more culturally appropriate services to our clients,” he said.
Chairman Lunn said the agreement would "improve the experience of the justice system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait community members". He added the MOU would give “high quality, culturally appropriate and safe legal aid services” for First Nations peoples.
TALS Principal Lawyer Hannah Phillips said there is “a lot of reform that is needed and the MOU cemented the relationship that has already been working for reform.
“We’ve already utilised the relationship that we have to push for things like raising the age of criminal responsibility,” Hannah said.
The MOU lays out TLA’s commitment that all our staff will have a better understanding of Aboriginal history, something that is taking shape as our Reconciliation Action Plan progresses.