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Long-term legal services secured for Torres Strait region

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) has secured critical legal services in the region, including the provision of legal education services, for the next four years.

TSRA Chairperson Napau Pedro Stephen AM today announced the appointment of two providers – E&H Law and Lena Passi Women’s Shelter Association Inc.

Mr Stephen said the move would ensure holistic legal support for Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people living in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) communities of Bamaga and Seisia.

“TSRA’s work to secure a four-year contract with both E&H Law and Lena Passi Women’s Shelter heralds a new and strengthened approach that ensures sustained access to legal services now and into the future,” Mr Stephen said.

“This long-term arrangement to mid-2028 provides certainty and stability for community through quality support, legal expertise and education from prevention and intervention to assistance with all civil, family and criminal law matters.”

The appointments follow a competitive, open tender process.

E&H Law will deliver core legal services including criminal, civil and family law matters after delivering interim criminal services to the region over the past two years.

E&H Law Partner Peter Haarsma said the firm would continue to deliver a high-quality legal service to connect local people, including those living on the outer islands and NPA communities of Bamaga and Seisia, with quality legal advice and support.

“We are proud of our outstanding reputation in providing professional and culturally appropriate legal services to clients across Far North Queensland,” Mr Haarsma said.

“In addition to our presence in the region and Cairns, clients can access 24-hour on-call support for urgent legal support and advice.”

The Cairns-based criminal law firm will establish offices on Thursday Island and Bamaga to service the Torres Strait and NPA.

Lena Passi Women’s Shelter is a local First Nations community-controlled corporation with a longstanding history in the region.

Lena Passi Women’s Shelter Manager Georgina Binjuda said it was uniquely placed to provide prevention, intervention and community legal education services for local people.

“Lena Passi Women’s Shelter has assisted and supported families and community members in crisis for over 30 years,” Ms Binjuda said.

“We are excited and looking forward to working in partnership with E&H Law to deliver this important service to the community.

“We will continue to work closely with our extensive community networks and TSRA to help address domestic and family violence and fill community legal education gaps in the region.”

Through the Commonwealth’s investment, TSRA is working to drive local and tailored approaches in the region that directly address service gaps and contribute to improved outcomes under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.

TSRA acknowledges and thanks the Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service (QIFVLS) for delivering interim civil legal services in the Torres Strait and NPA since July 2021. TSRA will work together with QIFVLS to support a smooth transition of services to the incoming service providers. QIFLVS will remain in the region and continue to offer support services for victims-survivors of domestic, family and sexual violence through their Bamaga and Thursday Island offices.

The new legal services arrangement with E&H Law and Lena Passi Women’s Shelter Association Inc. will be in place from 1 April 2024 to 30 June 2028.

For legal services and support, please contact:

E&H Law: (07) 4041 1677 (office hours 8:30am to 5:00pm), after hours on-call services available for urgent matters.

Lena Passi Women’s Shelter: 0427 691 366

  • E&H Law
  • Lena Passi Women's Shelter

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