There has been much discussion of what is in the Federal Budget, but little about some of the omissions. The absence of any increase in funding to the Family Court system, and severe cuts to Community Legal Centres will only add to the crisis.
Family Law parenting matters are now being listed for hearing in 2019 in some places. Appointments for the preparation of family reports, the expert reports the Court uses to assist it in ...making parenting orders, cannot be booked until December 2016 at the earliest. Judges sit well into the night to deal with the overwhelming burden of cases, which continues to grow, and which places undue stress on separating families.
The story is no different, and whether we are in Parramatta, Canberra, Dubbo or Sydney the delays are the same and the frustrations evident. Additional funding for new judges to meet the demand is urgently required, however the Federal Government sadly does not see this as a priority.
The 30% funding cuts to Community Legal Centres from 1 July will also be widely felt, with a large proportion of their work related to family law and domestic violence matters. There is a fear that many will close, removing access to justice formany people.