We are extremely disappointed that local control of Aboriginal Legal Services in Central Australia are being removed.
Both the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service (CAALAS) and North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) perform a vital function working for their regions.
Both organisations have a long history of service. They are both important in developing their regions.
The decision by the Federal Attorney General to cease funding CAALAS to control and manage the provision of an Aboriginal legal service in Central Australia and outsource the service to the Top End legal service is a step backwards in building regional capacity in the Northern Territory.
The service has had Governance issues, but it is clear that CAALAS has worked on its Constitution and made changes to its Board to move forward.
CAALAS works in a very challenging environment and there is a clear need for a locally controlled legal service working directly with the Central Australian community.
This year alone, to date CAALAS has conducted 7,631 legal matters.
Supporting regional growth and development has not been part of this decision by the Commonwealth Government. It has been the opposite. It is a step backwards in the provision of local Aboriginal control, leadership and organisation in Central Australia.