Jun 7, 2016

Labor to boost funding for Community Legal Centres

A Labor Government will ensure frontline legal services receive approximately $43 million in funding over three years from 1 July 2016 so they can keep doing their vital work.

Community Legal Centres, like the Marrickville Legal Centre in my electorate, help vulnerable people at times of great need, when they are unable to pay for legal help themselves.

Despite the importance of these frontline services Malcolm Turnbull and George Brandis have cut millions of dollars from Community Legal Centres, Legal Aid Commissions and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services over the past three years.

160,000 people were turned away from Community Legal Centres last year alone and Centres face a 30 per cent funding cut on 1 July 2017, which will see many centres having to close their doors to clients.

The Marrickville Legal Centre is typical of many CLCs across the country.

Its hardworking staff assist a large range of clients with diverse legal issues, from tenants’ rights, to domestic violence, to family law disputes, and they are frequently overwhelmed with demand.

It is a crucial part of our inner west community and worthy of support.

Other community legal services that will also receive additional funding under Labor include the Tenants Union of NSW, Financial Rights Legal Centre, Court Support Scheme, the Australian Centre for Disability Law, Inner City Legal Centre, HIV/AIDS Legal Centre, the Immigration Advice and Rights Centre, Seniors Rights Service and the Welfare Rights Centre.  These services will receive over $1.8 million in much-needed funding over three years.

Access to justice is a fundamental right of all Australians.  Only Labor will ensure that right is safeguarded – the only guarantee you will get from the Turnbull Government is further funding