Legislative Council: Wednesday, February 08, 2023


Amica One

The Hon. J.E. HANSON (15:07): My question is to the Attorney-General. Will the minister inform the council about the recent launch of Amica One?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:07): I thank the honourable member for his important question in relation to the recent launch of Amica One. Amica is a secure digital service developed by National Legal Aid and legal aid commissions, including very significant development from the Legal Services Commission of South Australia, with funding also from the commonwealth Attorney-General's Department.

Amica is a mobile-first tool to help guide separating couples through parenting arrangements and property settlement. It empowers those who use it to resolve their own disputes and seek information, education and assistance where needed, and utilises artificial intelligence to provide suggested resolutions. Amica can then generate documentation to record the agreed decisions. It can be a way to initiate difficult conversations and resolve difficult disputes that often seem intractable at the outset.

Client feedback and recent research indicated that there was a growing need to use a single-sided version of Amica. The behaviour of Amica users suggested that an increasing number of people who were considering separating were keen to try Amica but were initially apprehensive about inviting their former partner to use it without having first trialled it themselves. Particularly, people who have experienced family violence also provided feedback that a one-sided interface would help empower them with their information education about their rights and what a division of assets might look like, or what a parenting plan agreement might look like.

After an extensive program of works, a single-sided version of Amica, called Amica One, was developed. Amica One generates a proposed division of finances and property based on a user's financials and estimate of a former partner's finances. I am pleased to say that Amica One launched only a couple of weeks ago. It is completely free to use and anonymous, and aims to assist to:

increase access to justice and the provision of legal information;

empower individuals to take the next steps towards settlements of property and parenting arrangements;

simplify the process for separating couples;

drive traffic to Amica by providing Amica One users with an opportunity essentially to try before they use the two-sided interface; and

increase the rate of sign-up to Amica by both parties.

I am pleased to be able to report that since its launch only on 25 July last year, Amica One has already received 30,000 page views, with over 500 suggested divisions calculated. The expectation is that many of those users who try Amica One will go on to create an account with Amica when they are ready to do so.

Since the national launch of Amica on 30 June 2020, usage has steadily increased to date. Approximately 7,000 matters have registered in Amica, 1,400 couples have received suggested asset division, 400 couples have finalised parenting plan arrangements, and 300 couples have finalised consent orders. The key indicators of Amica's success is the social benefit being delivered to Australians who have empowered themselves with information, demonstrated through over 800,000 website views, and the value to those who have gone through to receive suggested divisions.

Noting that the average cost of legal advice in such matters is more than $10,000 a person, users have saved more than $18 million using Amica. Equitable access to justice is a mainstay for the Legal Services Commission. I am very pleased with the South Australian Legal Services Commission's involvement in this project, and I was pleased to have received briefings about this while in opposition. To see it working and come to fruition as well in South Australia and across Australia is a good thing.