CLCs to meet with MPs today over funding

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Lawyers from community legal centres all around Australia will meet with members of parliament today calling for urgent action as part of a new campaign, Community Law Australia – Fund Equal Justice.

Community legal centres are facing a 30 per cent cut to Commonwealth funding next year, as new figures reveal that CLCs are already turning away more than 160,000 people each year due to a lack of resources.

“Our first objective around the briefing is to make sure that people are aware about the work that we do,” campaign spokesperson and NACLC chairperson Rosslyn Monro told Australasian Lawyer.

She said that the group is hopeful that raising awareness about the importance of CLCs will drive the desire to not implement the cuts under the National Partnership Agreement. 

“We would like to work with government to make sure that they don’t happen,” Monro said.

“We remain cautiously optimistic but until that announcement is made, we will continue to lobby on behalf of the clients that we see.”

The campaign is calling for an injection of $120m per year into the legal assistance sector and a commitment to developing sustainable, long-term funding contributions.

Monro said a 30 per cent cut would mean a further reduction in services to people who need these services.

“Community Legal Centres do a range of different work and the top area where we provide the most amount of work is in family violence and family law,” she said.

“We’re potentially turning away those people.”
  • Michael Terceiro on 15/03/2016 3:56:28 PM

    I volunteered my time at two local CLC's late last year with no success. On both occasions the CLC's said that unless I could work for them at particular times (ie Thursday nights in one case and Saturday mornings for the other), they were unable use my skills and experience at any other times during the week. Very strange experience given the comments in the article above.

  • Holly on 16/03/2016 1:20:05 PM

    When an organisation is chronically underfunded there often isn't enough time or energy to supervise volunteers, or space to give them a place to work, outside of existing designated volunteer programs.

  • Michael Terceiro on 18/03/2016 11:57:41 AM

    I understand that Holly but I have been a lawyer for 23 years, have held an unrestricted practising certificate and run my own legal practice for nine years. I doubt the CLCs would have had to spend a great amount of time supervising me.

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