More than six weeks after a directive was issued to Tasmanian Attorney General Elise Archer to disperse federal budget funding to a specific women's legal agency, the funding has not been delivered.
Bass Liberal MHR Bridget Archer in early July wrote to the state Attorney General saying funding for front-line women's legal services announced in May's federal budget was intended very specifically.
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The Commonwealth government in May's federal budget set aside $129 million to "help women access justice". The budget said funding would be "directed to women's legal centres".
Ms (Bridget) Archer wrote, the "clear intention of this policy" was "centred around" ensuring funding was delivered to specialised women's legal services that were "trauma informed".
In the wake of last week's state budget, Ms (Bridget) Archer reaffirmed where she was confident there was only one place the state's allocation of the funding should be directed.
"The intent of the funding was to fund women's legal services and I am of the firm belief that in Tasmania, Women's Legal Services Tasmania should be given priority when it comes to the allocation of these funds and have made this view known to the Tasmanian Attorney General," she said.
It was understood the allocation in Tasmania was $1.5 million, and that the same allocation in other states had been made available to those specialist services.
Ms (Bridget) Archer said she had been working with "Women's Legal Service Tasmania, the federal Attorney General's office and with the department to ensure this funding would be allocated to the state as soon as possible".
"I understand that the federal Attorney General has signed off on the allocation of funding to the state, and it is now up to the Tasmanian Attorney General to sign off on the agreement and distribute the funds. It is my hope this distribution is decided and distributed in the very near future," she said.
A spokesman for federal Attorney General Michaelia Cash said the Commonwealth would require funding included in a National Legal Assistance Partnership, in which the specialist women's legal allocation fell, needed to be delivered to providers "specialising in the delivery of dedicated legal assistance services to women".
He said states were best placed to determine how the funds would be most effectively allocated to meet legal need.
State Attorney-General Archer said the government was working on finalising the funding arrangements for the sector, and that an announcement would be made "shortly".
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