Access to free legal help for Northern Tasmanians impacted by misconduct in the bank and financial services sector would be boosted in a new nationwide expansion, should federal Labor win at the polls in May.
To be funded through the party's $640 million Banking Fairness Fund, the plan would bring eight new specialist financial rights lawyers to the state - to provide advice and run complex cases - as part of 200 new positions to be funded across the country.
Federal Opposition financial services spokesperson Clare O'Neil and incumbent Bass Labor MHR Ross Hart announced the proposal in Launceston Thursday - which would include about four lawyers permanently based in the city alone.
Ms O'Neil said it was "absolutely true" to say there were many people in Launceston who had not been treated well by the banks.
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"What we are saying today is that we are going to station a permanent physical presence of somewhere around four permanent lawyers here in Launceston, and those lawyers are going to provide services across northern Tasmania into North-West Tasmania," Ms O'Neill said.
"We are also going to guarantee there will be the opportunity for face-to-face support for people who live across North and North-West Tasmania including Burnie, Devonport and Launceston."
Ms O'Neil also pointed to the federal government's reluctance to hold the banking royal commission, suggesting people had been left "on their own to tackle armies of QCs and lawyers" for financial institutions.
The new lawyers would assist residents bring claims of up to $2 million through the Australian Financial Complaints Authority for financial and non-financial loss under new compensation caps.
Launceston Community Legal Centre chief executive Nicky Snare described the legal need in the greater Launceston area - which results in the centre having to turn away on average four people each day seeking help - as "sometimes catastrophic".
With 15 per cent of their clients seeking help "fighting to get some sort of justice" for financial issues, and 30 per cent of their referrals over the last five years for financial-related assistance, she added that any boost to services would be welcome.
"Altogether in the last 5 years the Launceston Community Legal Centre has assisted about 11,200 people, that equates to one-in-ten of the greater Launceston area - that's how much work we do," she said. "We need more legal practitioners, it's as simple as that."
Mr Hart said Labor had engaged with the industry around the issues as the party took investment in financial counselling and community legal centres "very seriously".
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