After months of lobbying I welcome the good news that our community legal centres have been saved from the devastating cuts planned by Malcolm Turnbull’s Government.
The Coalition and Attorney-General George Brandis had been planning to cut community legal centre funding nationwide by 30 per cent, on July 1 this year.
These cuts would have resulted in a great loss of legal advice provided without charge to some of our most vulnerable Australians.
Marrickville Legal Centre, located just down the road from my electorate office, is a typical example of a community legal centre whose services would have been put at risk from the cuts.
The centre provides essential legal assistance with problems ranging from family law disputes to tenants’ rights, and issues with domestic violence.
Annette van Gent, the Principal Solicitor at Marrickville Legal Centre has welcomed the changes saying:
“In practical terms, it will mean that we can continue to provide legal services for the most vulnerable in our community including young people, and other people escaping family violence and people who have lost or are at risk of losing their homes and jobs.”
This backflip by the Coalition means that Marrickville Legal Centre can continue to fully fund their Youth Solicitor position.
While this announcement is welcome, there is still a high degree of uncertainty about the future of community legal centre funding from Federal and State Governments.
Labor will ensure that current funding amounts are secured, so that all Australians have access to our justice system through local organisations like the Marrickville Legal Centre.