Our Commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
Tasmania Legal Aid is committed to developing and strengthening relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, engaging staff and stakeholders in developing and piloting innovative strategies to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Tasmania Legal Aid is committed to working with local communities to ensure our legal services are culturally welcoming and safe for First Nations Peoples.
Approximately eight per cent of our clients identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. As a major provider of legal services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, TLA is working to build relationships with local communities to strengthen our capacity to deliver culturally responsive and accessible legal services.
In May 2021 we launched our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan to support our commitment by strengthening our relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities, creating genuine and sustainable partnerships to increase the cultural awareness, skills and practices of staff and developing an organisational culture that is respectful, accessible and safe.
TLA has an important role to play in advocating for justice system reforms to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including young people and children in the child safety system. Our ongoing commitment to community provides the platform for TLA to be a leader in promoting structural change in the Tasmanian legal profession and across the justice system.
Tasmania Legal Aid is currently engaging with Aboriginal communities to commit to actions for 2024 and beyond which are sustainable and meaningful.
The Rosie Smith Law Scholarship
A partnership between Riawunna Centre for Aboriginal Education UTAS, Tasmania Legal Aid (TLA) and the Faculty of Law, UTAS
The Rosie Smith Law Scholarship aims to encourage and support more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law students to graduate and pursue careers in the law. The scholarship is awarded to an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander first year law student annually commencing in 2022.
The scholarship provides:
- financial support through the Indigenous Student Success Program (ISSP) facilitated through Riawunna and the Scholarships Office
- internships and clinical placements at Tasmania Legal Aid and
- support and supervision by Faculty of Law staff, over the four years of the law degree.
In addition to receiving $2500 per semester to cover their education costs, scholarship recipients will gain valuable work experience across diverse areas of legal practice at Tasmania Legal Aid. This will build their practice knowledge and understanding of the legal system and introduce them to the Tasmanian legal profession, helping to create employment pathways.
The Rosie Smith Law Scholarship is subject to the same conditions of eligibility as the takamuna scholarships for Indigenous students. Recipients are required to achieve a minimum Pass result in all units studied each semester to retain the scholarship.