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.”