Thursday, 23 June 2022

Questions without notice and ministers statements

Ministers statements: Victoria Legal Aid

Ministers statements: Victoria Legal Aid

Ms SYMES (Northern Victoria—Leader of the Government, Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Services) (12:07): Last Thursday I had the pleasure of participating in the launch of Victoria Legal Aid’s Strategy 26 at the local Sunshine office. Over the last four decades VLA has helped the most vulnerable people in our community to navigate the justice system and resolve legal problems and ensured all Victorians have access to justice no matter their income or their postcode. This new strategy will guide VLA over the next four years as it works towards a fair, just and inclusive society where people can get help with legal problems and have a stronger voice in the laws and legal processes that affect them. I congratulate VLA’s acting board chair, Robbie Campo, and CEO, Louise Glanville, on a great event for steering VLA into an exciting new chapter.

It was wonderful to hear from local Aboriginal justice worker Keenan Madden from Kirrip Aboriginal Corporation, who reflected on the close partnership and trust the offices have built. The Federation of Community Legal Centres CEO, Louisa Gibbs, gave us a chance to step through the development of the community legal sector and its close ties to VLA over many decades. The foresight of the founders of these organisations and their continued commitment to justice are impressive. I hope that this encourages many people to work with or contribute to this amazing sector.

Strategy 26 makes collaboration and strengthening the whole sector a clear focus. The connections and networks VLA make with other organisations already bring about better outcomes for Victorians, so I certainly endorse the direction that VLA are going in. They have a clear focus on clients, strengthening early intervention and early resolution services to prevent the escalation of legal problems and providing inclusive and culturally safe workplaces as well as services.

One of my favourite parts of this portfolio is working with our critical legal services who directly help people in the community. I have said this before, but I truly believe that Victoria is a fairer and safer place thanks to the efforts of VLA and the community legal sector, and I cannot wait to see how VLA will continue to evolve and transform in the important work that they do.