Warren Mundine says that although cuts to Indigenous legal aid programs were necessary, he doesn't think the National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service program is the right place to start.
The Attorney-General's office says the cuts will only affect lobbying activities.
But those views aren't shared by people involved in the program - they say the cuts will have an impact on frontline services.
Reporter: Connie Agius
Speaker: Warren Mundine, Chair of the Australian Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council; Antoinette Braybrook, convenor of the National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service program; Jane, abuse victim
TONY EASTLEY: One of the Coalition's key appointments in the field of Indigenous affairs has spoken out about the government's cost cutting.
The chairman of the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council, Warren Mundine, is concerned about cuts to the national program helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who are victims of family violence and sexual assault.
He says that although cuts to Indigenous legal aid programs were necessary, he doesn't think the National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service program is the right place to start.
With more, here's Connie Agius.
CONNIE AGIUS: The Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service is a national program with offices around the country. It provides a range of legal and support services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who are victims of family violence and sexual assault.
A woman, who we'll call Jane, credits the program with her escape a violent home.
JANE: I was a victim of family violence for seven years. And so it just escalated to a point where it was quite dangerous for myself and that it was dangerous for the children.
CONNIE AGIUS: It was important to Jane that she find a service that understood her culture.
JANE: It meant that I didn't need to have to explain my position as an Aboriginal woman and mother. It meant that I was working with Aboriginal workers as well, and it meant that when I have the service in court that they were able to speak as if I was the one that was speaking about my situation as an Aboriginal woman.
CONNIE AGIUS: Jane benefited from one of four legal assistance programs now targeted for government cuts. The program's administrators say they'll lose $3.6 million over the next three years.
The Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, issued a statement to AM saying funding will be stripped from policy reform and lobbying activities - and he says frontline legal services won't be affected.
But the national convenor for the program, Antoinette Braybrook, disagrees.
ANTOINETTE BRAYBROOK: The Family Violence Prevention Legal Service program does not get funding for policy and law reform, so I'm not sure how they can say that it is only to that and frontline services won't be affected. That $3.6 million cut to our program will have to come from frontline service delivery.
CONNIE AGIUS: Antoinette Braybrook says Aboriginal women are 34 times more likely than the rest of the community to be hospitalised because of family violence. She says the service is already struggling to keep up with demand.
ANTOINETTE BRAYBROOK: We're always at capacity and trying to manage those high caseloads. So we are under-resourced now, and these cuts will only contribute to us not being able to meet that demand.
CONNIE AGIUS: Ms Braybrook's concerns are shared by Warren Mundine, who is the chair of the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council.
WARREN MUNDINE: It is really tough, because we do need to ensure that we are working hard in this area, because it is a very crucial area for us.
CONNIE AGIUS: Is this the right area to be cutting, in terms of funding?
WARREN MUNDINE: Well no, not really, because it's an area that it is likely in regard to the domestic violence situation, and I see this as a very critical and crucial area for us.
What it really means for us in the Council and that is we need to get on top of this very quickly, and we have to then have conversation back with the Government about, okay, what are the outcomes we need to have in this area, and how do we ensure that the funding and that the proper programming that it replaced to ensure that we are reducing the rate of domestic violence and violence within Aboriginal communities overall.
CONNIE AGIUS: While Warren Mundine is critical of this particular cut, he supports the Government's general plans to cut waste in Aboriginal spending.