Legislative Council: Tuesday, July 05, 2022


Legal Services Commission

The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY (15:31): My question is to the Attorney-General. Will the Attorney-General update the council about the recent reopening of the Legal Services Commission office in Noarlunga?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Attorney-General, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:31): I thank the honourable member for his very important question, and I am certainly happy to update the member about the recent reopening of the Legal Services Commission's Noarlunga office.

In recent weeks, I had the great pleasure and honour of opening the redeveloped Noarlunga office of the Legal Services Commission. The Legal Services Commission is South Australia's largest provider of free legal assistance and has renewed and redeveloped its office at Noarlunga House in Ramsay Place to boost its delivery of legal assistance with family law, criminal law and civil law; legal assistance for victims of domestic violence; free legal advice and information about a wide range of common legal issues; and legal representation to eligible applicants.

The reopening of the office was well attended by a range of stakeholders in the legal sector and local community members. I was pleased to be joined by the Hon. Katrine Hildyard, the member for Reynell; Mr Simon McMahon, the acting Mayor for the City of Onkaparinga; and Senior Sergeant Stuart Bainbridge from SAPOL's prosecution branch.

I was informed that the commission's presence in Noarlunga dates right back to 1983, which was a big year in Australian history, with Bob Hawke first becoming prime minister, winning the America's Cup that year, and of course the opening of the Noarlunga office of the Legal Services Commission, so three very big things happened that year. Also, 1983 was the year of the devastating Ash Wednesday bushfires, which caused so much damage throughout South Australia, particularly in the Hills and the South-East of the state.

The Noarlunga office has been completely redesigned and refurbished to make sure it meets the contemporary needs of the clients in this community. The commission established its presence in Noarlunga in the early 1980s, recognising the needs of the community, and for residents in the southern suburbs to be able to access justice if they were not able to access it otherwise. Like many parts of our state, there are significant rates of disadvantage in some parts of the southern community, and that disadvantage often goes hand-in-hand with a lesser ability to access the legal system.

In the 1980s, the government and the commission foresaw the impending population growth in the southern area and the need for such legal services and assistance to be available to that expanding community. As was the case way back in the early 1980s, there remains a need for this sort of legal assistance in this area, so I am pleased that in response the Legal Services Commission is now delivering from a much more fit-for-purpose office some life-changing services for many people, as it has done over a number of decades.

Over the years, I am informed that thousands of members of the community have accessed services from the Legal Services Commission Noarlunga office, and I am very pleased that they can access it now in a building that is a contemporary building for the provision of these sorts of services to the community. I wish the Noarlunga office of the Legal Services Commission well over the decades to come.