Legal Aid enhances access to justice in Western Australia with new virtual office

The new virtual office program will include the Collie-Preston region

Legal Aid enhances access to justice in Western Australia with new virtual office

Legal Aid Western Australia has launched a virtual office in Collie to enhance access to justice services in the region.

Attorney general John Quigley announced the opening of the new virtual office. Quigley requested legal aid WA to further expand its virtual office program to include the Collie-Preston region after announcing last year that Collie magistrates court would remain open.

"The virtual office is an exciting and innovative initiative for the people of Collie-Preston,” Quigley said.

The technology in place at the Collie Family Centre (CFC) remotely connects people face to face with a legal aid lawyer. Quigley claimed this would help remove barriers to receiving legal assistance and advice in regional areas.

The CFC virtual office was established following consultation with local stakeholders led by Collie-Preston MLA Jodie Hanns. The not-for-profit CFC operates out of Collie community house, which provides family support and counselling services to the community.

A state-of-the-art video screen installed at the centre connects clients directly with a lawyer or support worker at legal aid's head office in Perth or its Bunbury office. Currently, there are 19 legal aid virtual offices in outer metropolitan and regional centres across western Australia.

Since the launch of the first virtual office in July 2019, more than 4,000 legal services had been delivered via the service.

“These innovative and cost-effective screens will make it easier for vulnerable people in the Collie-Preston region to access legal information and advice, helping them to resolve their legal matters quickly with improved outcomes,” Quigley said.

"Legal aid plays an important role in our state’s justice system, providing a high level of quality services to the Western Australian community and it is vital that all Western Australians have access to this."

Collie-Preston MLA Jodie Hanns also commented, "This will ensure Collie residents receive the same face-to-face assistance that those in the city experience. I'm proud to help bring this much-needed facility to Collie, which will reduce barriers to legal assistance and advice."

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