Women’s Legal Services Australia calls for Federal government funding in gender equality push

Over 52,000 women could be denied needed legal assistance otherwise, the organisation warned

Women’s Legal Services Australia calls for Federal government funding in gender equality push

Women’s Legal Services Australia has called for increased funding from the Federal government in a push for commitment to fighting back against gender inequality in the country.

In its 2024 Federal Budget Submission, the organisation sought at least $10m more in funds annually. The figure was drawn from a 2020 economic analysis conducted by the Australia Institute which concluded that at least $25m in funds per year was required to meet the demand for Women's Legal Services in the country.

Women's Legal Services Australia chair Elena Rosenman explained that the availability of specialist legal services for Australian women has not increased significantly across most jurisdictions in spite of funding commitments made in prior budget cycles.

Most Read

The organisation analysed 2023 data collected by all 13 Women's Legal Services and found that over a five-day period, Women’s Legal Services had to deny 1,018 women who needed legal assistance – equating over 52,000 Australian women per year.

“The time for funding is now if the government is serious about standing behind Australian women and ensuring they can access the support they need to be safe, to be engaged in their recovery and actively participate in the legal system”, she said in a media release. “Women’s Legal Services are focused on achieving justice, safety and equality for women, yet our capacity to make long-lasting and significant improvements for women has been restricted by chronic underfunding”.

Rosenman added that the 2024/25 budget provided an opportunity to “break this devastating cycle of unmet demand for women in crisis”.

“The Federal Government announced an Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into justice responses to sexual violence and launched a new Consent Policy Framework to guide healthy sexual relationships and consent among young people”, she said. “These steps are integral to moving Australia towards a culture where women are safe and respected, but this is not backed by sufficient investment in frontline services. With gender inequality clearly on the government's radar, we must see investment in the safety and future of Australia’s women by sustainably funding Women’s Legal Services to support and champion their experiences and needs”.

Recent articles & video

Top young stars of Australia's legal profession for 2024 unveiled

Wave of law firm mergers sweeps across the UK despite declining firm numbers

US Justice Department flags Kirkland & Ellis' potential conflict of interest in a bankruptcy case

US Supreme Court permits Idaho to enforce gender-affirming care ban for minors

W+K debuts aviation practice with Clyde & Co lawyer

SA court upholds South Australia's claim on parliamentary privilege and public interest immunity

Most Read Articles

Top young stars of Australia's legal profession for 2024 unveiled

Promotions round beefs up Clyde & Co's Australia partnership

Allens welcomes five new partners

Tech and IP stars join up with Allen & Overy