The Tasmania Legal Aid Annual Report was tabled in Parliament today. TLA Chair Patrick Lunn said the Report highlights the many achievements by the organisation in 2021-22.
“This year we supported people to make submissions to the Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings and gave evidence to the Disability Royal Commission,” Mr Lunn said. “We engaged with stakeholders on issues that matter including: the Family Law Cross-Examination scheme; the implementation of our Reconciliation Action Plan; the implementation of the Magistrates’ Court Criminal and General Act; our management of client confidential information; our Children First Report and the development of the new Burnie Court and reforms.”
Outgoing Director Vincenzo Caltabiano said TLA had a focus on “voice” in 2021-22.
“We conducted a comprehensive Client Satisfaction Survey which provided useful feedback about our services,” Mr Caltabiano said. “Clients reported a high level of satisfaction and that: staff listened (80%), the advice was helpful (74%) and the service met their expectations (66%). New client advisory groups provide ongoing client feedback which continues to shape our service delivery.
“As part of our Reconciliation Action Plan, we have worked with the Aboriginal community on initiatives to increase our understanding and responsiveness. We were very pleased to launch the Rosie Smith Law Scholarship, in conjunction with the Riawunna Centre and the UTAS Law School.”
Mr Caltabiano said the launch of the Independent Children’s Lawyers Practice Standards and Guidelines was a major step to improving the voice of children.
“This Australian first sets out a child focused approach to ensure that children are heard in the disputes about them. The Guidelines were launched by the Chief Justice of the Federal Circuit and Family Court, the Honourable William Alstergren, who praised them as an excellent resource for practitioners as they undertake this important work. “We also collaborated with Women’s Legal Service Tasmania to create Tasmania’s first health justice partnership, Just Healthy Families.”