ATSILS News

ATSILS meets with The Federal Attorney-General in Gladstone

Gladstone ATSILSThis week ATSILS CEO Shane Duffy and the team servicing Gladstone had the pleasure of meeting with The Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus MP. The Attorney-General was in regional Queensland conducting his first visits with legal assistance providers since becoming Attorney-General.
Meeting with the Attorney-General at the Gladstone Courthouse proved a great opportunity for the team to give a firsthand account of the important work ATSILS undertakes in providing access to justice for the most vulnerable in the community.
The ever-increasing demand for legal assistance was a key service delivery challenge on display in Gladstone during the AGs’ time there. During the visit, our CEO took the opportunity to announce that in the coming months ATSILS will be expanding its service by establishing a permanent office and workforce in Gladstone to respond to the identified legal needs of the community. This will include additional criminal law and court support officer positions. Currently, members of ATSILS criminal law team travel down from Rockhampton to service the Gladstone community. Having criminal law staff permanently based in Gladstone is critically needed to improve access to justice for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in the region.
ATSILS would like to thank the Attorney-General for the valuable time shared in Gladstone. Throughout discussions, it was clear the Attorney-General had a deep understanding of the vital role legal assistance providers play in the justice system. He was sensitive to the service delivery challenges highlighted by the team and keenly aware of how far current resourcing is being overstretched in the legal assistance sector in attempts to meet spiralling demand.

Were you (or someone you help) flooded? Get legal help!

Legal Help for Disasters cause legal problems.
Are you experiencing:
• Insurance hassles?
• Changes to parenting and care arrangements?
• Tenancy and housing problems?
• Unsafe relationships?
• Unfair employment changes?
• Financial hardship – e.g. unmanageable or unfair debts?
For quality, free legal help, contact:
ATSILS (QLD) – 1800 012 255
Legal Aid Queensland – 1300 65 11 88
Community Legal Centres Queensland
07 3392 0092
ATSILS News

Service Update: Client visits to ATSILS offices

ATSILS Service UpdateFrom today ATSILS offices are once again open to client visits.
We encourage clients however to exercise caution and only attend our offices for necessary face-to-face appointments. Please contact your lawyer to confirm arrangements. https://www.atsils.org.au/contact/
Although face masks 😷 are no longer required in most settings, we strongly recommend our staff and visitors to our office, continue to wear one, especially in small meeting rooms and circumstances where you can’t socially distance.
Please note (as per QLD Health’s advice on 4/04/202), you still need to wear a mask in healthcare settings, disability and aged care facilities, prisons, on planes and when riding public transport.
We thank everyone for their ongoing cooperation as we continue to align our biosecurity measures with State Government Health advice and navigate the pandemic with staff, client and community safety at the centre of our responses.
ATSILS News

COVID-19 – Service Delivery Response Measures – January 2022

To help slow the spread of COVID-19 our staff are instructed to use physical distancing and to deliver services via phone or ICT options wherever possible. Please phone your lawyer or our client services staff to confirm the best arrangements for legal appointments or attending court. A full list of office contacts is available here: https://www.atsils.org.au/contact/
 
Mask wearing will be required for staff, clients and visitors attending ATSILS offices at all times (exceptions are when eating/drinking or there is a medical reason not to wear a mask) until further notice. Surgical masks will be available for visitors at ATSILS offices if required.
 
If you are feeling unwell with COVID Symptoms or have been a close contact please don’t attend our offices in person, get tested, seek medical help and contact your lawyer for advice.
 
 
For more information on what to do if you have COVID-19 visit:

Interim Legal Service Provider for Torres Strait Islands and NPA Regions

Please be advised that as of the close of business today (30 June 2021), the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (QLD) Ltd will no longer be providing legal assistance and community legal education services to communities throughout the Torres Strait Region and Northern Peninsula Area (NPA).

From 1 July 2021, The Torres Strait Regional Authority has appointed – Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service (QIFVLS) to deliver community legal education services and QIFVLS has also been engaged to provide interim legal services for communities Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area Regions.

If you, or your family, live in the Torres Strait or NPA region and need legal help call QIFVLS 1800 887 700.
ATSILS wish all involved in the interim arrangements (and beyond) all the very best.

ATSILS (QLD) a joint winner at the 2021 Queensland Reconciliation Awards

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (QLD) Ltd was a joint winner last night in the “Partnership” category of the 2021 Queensland Reconciliation Awards for our work with key partners in delivering the Northern Peninsula Area Licensing Muster Initiative.

 
We would like to extend our congratulations also to key partners involved in the initiative – Northern Peninsula Area Justice Services Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation (NPA Community Justice Group) and Queensland Police Service (Bamaga Station).
 
The award is a great credit to our team up in the Torres Strait and NPA regions and in particular Annabelle Craft (our Prevention, Intervention and CLE Officer)– whose professionalism and hard work was a key driver of the partnership initiative.
 
We’d also like to acknowledge C’Zarke Maza our Regional Manager in the NPA and Torres Strait regions, who first raised the challenge surrounding unlicensed driving charges in the regions with the executive – which was then taken up at the departmental level by Shane Duffy our CEO. Whilst with departmental support the wheels were put in motion, it would have been easy for the initiative to grind to a halt – but with Annabelle at the steering wheel, such was never going to happen.
 
The Northern Peninsula Area Licensing Muster Initiative is a justice reinvestment strategy that has been providing cross-agency, holistic, evidence-based, proactive, and culturally safe support to the five communities of the NPA around licensing, registration, and identity documents since 2019.
 
The initiative aims to reduce unnecessary contact that Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience with the criminal justice system related to driving and vehicle related offending. Such contact often leads to offenders being sent to correctional facilities located thousands of kilometres away from their community.
 
The initiative arose through prolonged observation of the high numbers of community members facing court action and punishment for non-violent driving-related offences, as well as social and economic exclusion. It appeared that many community members lacked sufficient or consistent primary identity documentation, immediately precluding them from accessing the services and opportunities many Australians take for granted.
 
Congratulations to Annabelle, the team and all partners involved. This initiative is a great example of the targeted impact justice reinvestment strategies can have on addressing the over-representation and unnecessary contact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience in the justice system.
 
To read more on the success of this program visit:

MEDIA RELEASE: ATSILS (QLD) legal and community legal education service delivery to cease in the Torres Strait & Northern Peninsula Area.

Date: 13th April 2021

ATSILS (QLD) legal and community legal education service delivery to cease in the Torres Strait & Northern Peninsula Area.

  

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (QLD) Ltd – ATSILS wishes to advise that it will no longer be delivering legal assistance and community legal education services to communities throughout the Torres Strait Region and Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) from the end of the current funding agreement 30 June 2021.

For the past 10 years the ATSILS team has worked tirelessly to ensure some of the most remote communities in Australia have access to justice under a funding arrangement with the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA).

ATSILS CEO Shane Duffy said, “since 2011 we have built strong relationships with the community, courts and broader social services sector to address and advocate for not only the legal needs of our clients, but also the root causes as to why they need our services.”

“As the primary legal service provider in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area for the last 10 years, we are proud of the work we have done in improving access to justice for communities across this remote region. Our staff who have worked there can hold their heads up high with the legacy they leave.”

“I wish the communities of the Torres Strait and NPA regions all the best for the future and I would like to praise the diligent commitment of Regional Manager C’Zarke Maza and his team for making a positive difference to the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through the quality work they’ve done for many years. I would also like to thank the TSRA and other stakeholders in the region for their support and collaboration in assisting us to ensure better access to justice for people in these regions.”

“Our focus will remain on ensuring our clients in the region receive the same quality services until the end of our current contract (June 30, 2021) and we will work with the TSRA and the new service provider to ensure a smooth transition period prior to the end of June,” Mr Duffy said.

Download Media Release [PDF]

Community Legal Education: Torres Strait Islands – September 2018

Community Legal EducationOur CLE Team will be delivering community legal education sessions in the following locations across the Torres Strait Islands next week.

Dauan Island
Where: TSIRC Office
When: Monday, 24 September 2018 at 10am

Ugar/Stephen Island
Where: TSIRC Office
When: Tuesday, 25 September 2018 at 10am

Poruma/Coconut Island
When: Wednesday, 26 September 2018 at 10am
Want to talk to a lawyer?

Community members are welcome to come and talk to us about a range of civil, criminal and family law issues including:

  • Your rights & responsibilities when interacting with police
  • Attending court
  • Child protection
  • Traditional Adoption
  • Divorce/separation
  • Domestic violence
  • Debts and unpaid fines
  • Driver licences
  • Superannuation
  • Wills
  • Consumer law

*Have another question? Just come and ask! We look forward to meeting you.

ATSILS Thursday Island has a team of lawyers able to assist you with a range of legal issues. Come meet with us and learn how to access ATSILS services and what we can do to help you. You can also contact the Thursday Island Team on: (07) 4069 1091

Developing the Cultural Competence of our Workforce

cc_workshop_sep2018_5This week ATSILS staff enjoyed participating in a series of cultural competence training workshops in Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns. The training was facilitated by consultant Tom Kirk and he delivered a dynamic program covering topics such as cultural diversity, kinship systems, the impacts of colonisation, governance and communicating across cultures.

The highly interactive sessions provided a great learning experience for participants. It enabled new staff to quickly establish a foundation for developing their cultural competence further, whilst more experienced staff had the opportunity to test and refine their knowledge and existing cross cultural communication skills. All in all staff got a lot out of the days and appreciated Tom’s engaging teaching style.

ATSILS is committed to strengthening the cultural competence of its workforce to ensure we are able to foster more effective community relationships and deliver highly accessible legal services responsive to the needs of clients and communities across the state.