• Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion. (AAP)
It's still unclear whether the Coalition will go ahead with cuts to Aboriginal legal aid as flagged before the federal election.
By
Lindy Kerin

Source:
NITV News
20 Sep 2013 - 7:29 PM  UPDATED 20 Sep 2013 - 7:33 PM

Just before the Federal election, the Coalition announced plans to scrap $42 million from Aboriginal legal aid.

The proposed cut sent shockwaves through the legal sector, with claims it would lead to further increases in Indigenous imprisonment rates.

Right now, it's still unclear whether the proposed cut will go ahead.

"This isn't my portfolio," Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion told NITV. "It's the portfolio of the Attorney General, but clearly we'll be getting some briefs on that early next week".

"There's no expectation this will have an impact on frontline services. The intention was to make cuts from areas like law reform and policy. I'm not in a position to give you any other information outside of that, it's not my portfolio, but no doubt we'll be working on those matters early next week".

The head of the Coalition government's new Indigenous Advisory Council, Warren Mundine, criticised the proposed cut, and suggested it may be reversed.

He told Sky News all Indigenous programs including legal services will be reviewed.

"For us it's about a review. I didn't want governments or anyone making announcements beforehand, before we actually make those reviews and that's where we'll be headin," said Mr Mundine.

"We've had conversations with NATSILS (National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Legal Services) and it's about us doing a review of the process and it's about how we better deliver to those communities out there.

"It's not about cuts, it's not about getting new money, it's about how do we provide the better service."

NATSILS declined to comment today saying it's waiting for more information.