Friday 01 September, 2023
The Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service has around 600 active files across the State, which includes files that are run by our dedicated family violence prevention legal service SiS.
“In 2019, the Tasmanian Regional Aboriginal Communities Alliance successfully negotiated the return of the Aboriginal Legal Services to Tasmania. The Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service was established as a result and commenced operating in the middle of 2020. The service is an inclusive service that supports clients across all areas of Tasmania,” says Board Chair, John Clark.
Patsy Cameron AO, Board Chair of TRACA has said that “as the representative for many Aboriginal communities, the Tasmanian Regional Aboriginal Communities Alliance (TRACA) fought hard in 2019 to establish a locally controlled Aboriginal legal service. This commitment was driven by the need to ensure that our people had access to an inclusive service, that was available to all Aboriginal people and communities, as unfortunately prior to 2015, it was not. TRACA is extremely supportive of TALS and its staff and receives regular and consistent feedback from clients that the service is excellent.”
“TALS employs 18 lawyers across Tasmania, five Aboriginal Liaison Officers and have an Aboriginal staff member in the prison who has supported more than 250 prisoners who identify as Aboriginal in the last two years.” Says TALS Acting State Manager Hannah Phillips.
“TALS also has lawyers on call 24/7 to support people Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in custody.”
“We have recently received funding to complete a pilot for the first bail support program to be run in Tasmania. This program will support clients in meeting their bail conditions and accessing support services in an attempt to reduce re-offending and ultimately the rates of imprisonment.”
“We have received more than 1400 notifications of Aboriginal people in custody between January to June 2023, with 60% being received after hours. These calls are answered by lawyers in Tasmania.” Ms Phillips said.
“The demand for our service continues to grow and we continue to increase our staffing to be able to answer to the needs of all communities across Tasmania.”
Ms Phillips said TALS is a member-based, independent, not-for-profit community legal centre that specialises in the provision of criminal, civil and family law legal information, advice and representation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Tasmania.
“The legal service was returned to Tasmania in 2020 and has been here ever since - it is run in Tasmania by Tasmanian people.”
Media contact: A.Mark Thomas, M&M Communications, 0422 006 732
On the 25th January 2024 the Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service launched its Bail Support program pilot.
The Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service wants to see genuine engagement and consultation with a wide range of Aboriginal communities and organisations to support the best outcome for Aboriginal children and young people.