Australian Law Reform Commission

Budget Review 2010-11 Index

Budget 2010–11: Legal issues and the Attorney-General’s portfolio

Australian Law Reform Commission—funding

Pauline Downing

The 2010–11 Budget contains significant budget reductions for the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC).

Its budget will be reduced in 2010–11 by $242 000 with further reductions of $495 000 per year from 2011–12.[1] The latter reduction represents a cut of about 20% on 2009–10 levels. These reductions will require the ALRC to find additional productivity savings as well as streamline its operations and further develop its online resources.

In 2009–10 the ALRC conducted three inquiries but is only expecting to conduct two in this and subsequent years to 2013–14.[2] There is also an expected reduction in the number of consultation meetings[3] from 180 in 2009–10 to (an estimated) 100 from 2010–11.

Other law reform bodies have had their funding reduced in this Budget. The Criminology Research Council has had its revenue reduced by $148 000 to $448 000[4] and the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) has had its revenue reduced by $548 000 to $7.393 million for 201–11.[5] The ability of the AIC to operate with a reduced budget may be facilitated by the reduction in the number of staff from 56 in 2009–10 to 46 in 2010–11.[6]

Cuts to these legal bodies have created concerns that independent advice is not valued by the government.[7]

[1].    Australian Government, Portfolio Budget Statements 2010–11: budget related paper no. 1.2: Attorney-General’s Portfolio, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2010, p. 233, viewed 17 May 2010,$file/11+PBS+10_11+ALRC+web+FINAL.pdf

[2].    Ibid., p. 234.

[3].    Consultation meetings involve input and feedback from key stakeholders and the public and may be conducted using face to face meetings, ‘phone-ins’ or online feedback.   

[4].    Portfolio Budget Statements 2010–11, Attorney-General’s Portfolio, op. cit., p. 288.

[5].    Ibid., p. 221.

[6].    Ibid., p. 219.

[7].    J Ayers, ‘Law reform body faces big budget cuts’, Australian Financial Review, 30 April 2010, p. 41.

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