Only a re-elected majority Gutwein Liberal Government has the clear plan to secure Tasmania’s future and keep Tasmanians safe.

I am pleased to announce that if re-elected, we will invest $15.3 million over four years to provide better access to justice while ensuring the safety of our communities.

As part of our Justice Policy, we will provide $2.2 million a year for four years, additional to the funding already committed under the National Legal Assistance Partnership, to continue to provide free or low-cost legal services to Tasmanians who need the extra help.

During the COVID pandemic, the Legal Assistance Sector in our State saw an increase in demand for their services and it was our Government who provided record funding to help Tasmanians in need navigate the justice system. This new funding will allow these crucial services to continue and provide the sector with much-needed certainty going forward.

We will also deliver almost $2.5 million to reduce re-offending and increase rehabilitation in Tasmania through new partnerships with key organisations to provide increased therapeutic support and programs in prison. Access to programs, education and employment for inmates is a priority, helping to address the underlying reasons why people re-offend and maximise the chances of successful reintegration back into the community.

These new programs include:

•          Partnering with the Australian Red Cross to deliver their Community Based Health First Aid (CBHFA) program at a cost of $780,000 over three years;
•          Partnering with Connect 42 to deliver the Just Time Prison Parenting Program at a cost of $610,000 over three years;
•          Partnering with Dress for Success Hobart to expand the Welcome Back(pack) initiative at a cost of $100,000 over three years; and
•          Recruiting an additional five new therapeutic staff within the Prison to provide drug and alcohol intervention programs at a cost of $500,000 each year for two years.

We will provide $1.3 million in funding to introduce body scanning technology in the Hobart and Launceston Reception Prisons and Risdon Prison, to minimise personal searches and stop potentially harmful items such as drugs and weapons from entering the prison system.

A further $2.4 million over two years will be delivered to continue Tasmania’s electronic monitoring of high-risk family violence perpetrators following a trial that demonstrated increased safety to victims, an 82 per cent reduction in high risk incidents, and increased accountability for perpetrators.

If re-elected, our Government will also provide funding for a lawyer to be rostered to appear for children and young people, appearing before after-hours courts in Burnie, Devonport and Launceston. We will work with our legal assistance sector to identify the most efficient way to deliver this service at a cost of $80,000 per year.

We recognise that non-fatal strangulation, choking or suffocation is an abhorrent form of violence and can often lead to further family violence behaviour. The protection and safety of victims of family violence and their children continues to be a priority for our Government, and that’s why we will work to strengthen our non-fatal strangulation laws based on the receipt of final advice in this regard from Tasmania’s independent Sentencing Advisory Council.

We remain committed to again introducing strong mandatory minimum imprisonment penalties for serious sexual offences against children. Sexual offences against children are heinous and the community rightfully expects offenders to go to jail, and our Government wants to see appropriate justice served for survivors of child sexual abuse.

Assaults on frontline workers are completely unacceptable, and we will reintroduce legislation to ensure anyone who commits an offence resulting in serious bodily harm will receive a mandatory minimum sentence of six months’ jail.

A re-elected majority Gutwein Liberal Government has the strong and demonstrated credentials, and the Justice Policy to keep Tasmanians safe.

Our Justice Policy can be viewed at http://lbr.al/og7m

Elise Archer, Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Minister for Corrections