Media Release: Community Lawyers Welcome Funding Reprieve from Tasmanian Government

The National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) and Community Legal Centres Tasmania (CLC Tas) today welcomed the announcement by the Tasmanian Government as part of last night’s Budget to provide emergency top up funding to three community legal centres in Tasmania.

The State Government announced an additional $496,000 to legal assistance services, including community legal centres and the Legal Aid Commission, in Tasmania over 2016-2017.

‘We are pleased that the Tasmanian Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin has recognised the important work that community legal centres do for some of Tasmania’s most socially and financially disadvantaged people’ said Jane Hutchison, Chair of CLC Tas.

‘We welcome of the additional funding, some of which will be provided to three of the community legal centres funded by the Commonwealth Government under the National Partnership Agreement for Legal Assistance (NPA). The announcement means that CLCs in Tasmania funded under the NPA will be insulated from funding cuts for another year’.

‘The funding will help to secure Tasmania’s community legal centres and allow services to continue to be delivered to vulnerable Tasmanians. This is a particularly welcome outcome for centres facing imminent staff cuts and reduction in programs’ she added.

However, CLCs are still facing a funding cliff from 1 July 2017, with a 30% cut to Commonwealth funding nationally locked into the NPA.

‘We welcome the funding commitment from the Tasmanian Government that will protect CLCs over the coming financial year. It shows an important commitment to the sector and to the people of Tasmania’ said Daniel Stubbs, NACLC National Spokesperson.

‘However, we are extremely concerned that CLCs in Tasmania still face a looming funding cliff from 1 July 2017 unless the Commonwealth Government reverses the funding cuts. That will mean fewer Tasmanians will get the legal help they need. The Tasmanian Government has taken an important step to protect CLCs and it is time the Commonwealth Government did the same’ added Mr Stubbs.

‘In addition, unfortunately the State Government’s announcement did not restore funding to the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO). The Commonwealth Government cut all funding from EDOs and without an immediate injection of funding, we may see the loss of these vital services’ concluded Mr Stubbs.

NACLC and CLC Tas call on the Federal Government to:

  1. Reverse the Commonwealth funding cuts to CLCs under the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance amounting to $34.83 million from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2020
  2. Immediately inject $200 million per year to legal assistance services, as recommended by the Productivity Commission, which should be shared between the Commonwealth (60%) and the States and Territories (40%). This should equate to at least an additional $24 million per year allocated to CLCs ($14.4 million p.a. Commonwealth and $9.6 million p.a. from States/Territories)
  3. Commit to implementing an appropriate process for determining adequate and sustainable longer-term funding contributions for legal assistance in consultation with the sector.

For further information or to arrange an interview contact:

Jane Hutchison, CLTAS, 0417 596 919
Dan Stubbs, NACLC National Spokesperson, 0437 253 543
Amanda Alford, NACLC Director Policy and Advocacy, 0421 028 645
Jackie Hanafie, Media Adviser, 0412 652 439

Media Release: Community Lawyers Welcome Greens Plan to Address Family Violence

The National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) today welcomed the announcement by the Greens of their plan to address family violence, including through funding for legal assistance services.

The policy ‘Confronting Our Domestic Violence Crisis: Enough is Enough- Funding Our Front Line Services’ was released by Greens spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters. It includes a $5 billion plan over ten years to increase investment in front line services to address and respond to family violence.

“We welcome the Greens acknowledgement of the family violence crisis in Australia and the need for significant investment to address that crisis” said Daniel Stubbs, NACLC National Spokesperson.

“We also welcome the Greens acknowledgement of the need to reverse the funding cuts to community legal centres (CLCs), implement the Productivity Commission’s recommendations and invest long-term in the legal assistance sector” said Mr Stubbs.

“We are disappointed that there was no specific funding for CLCs included in the package announced today, however the Greens have indicated that they will make further specific funding commitments for CLCs, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and Legal Aid Commissions in the coming weeks and we look forward to hearing more” added Mr Stubbs.

“An important part of the package is the specific funding for Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS) of $144 million additional funds over 4 years. The FVPLS provide vital services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experiencing family violence and it is vital that these community controlled services receive the funding they need” added Mr Stubbs.

“We are also pleased to see that the package includes $60 million to implement the recommendations made as part of the Safety First in Family Law Campaign being run by one of NACLC’s National Networks, Women’s Legal Services Australia. The Campaign outlines five steps to creating a family law system that keeps women and children safe and is a vital part of any national response to family violence, so reform consistent with these steps as well as associated funding is very welcome” concluded Mr Stubbs.

For further information or to arrange an interview contact:

Dan Stubbs, National Spokesperson, 0437 253 543
Amanda Alford, Director Policy and Advocacy, 0421 028 645
Jackie Hanafie, Media Adviser, 0412 652 439

To discuss the Women’s Legal Services Australia Safety First in Family Law Campaign, contact:
Emma Smallwood, Women’s Legal Services Australia, 03 8622 0600

Budget cuts to legal assistance services hit vulnerable hardest

Australia’s most vulnerable people who require vital access to legal assistance services have once again been let down by the Federal Government in this year’s Budget, says the National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC).

The 2016-17 Federal Budget does not reverse the looming funding cuts or include any additional investment in legal assistance service, including Community Legal Centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, Family Violence Prevention Legal Services or Legal Aid Commissions.

“This year’s Budget is a missed opportunity to stop the funding cuts and ensure the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people across Australia have access to legal assistance,” NACLC Chairperson Rosslyn Monro said.

“The Government has failed our most vulnerable by not prioritising access to legal help for hundreds of thousands of people across Australia”.

“Community Legal Centres helped over 215,000 people with free legal advice last year and had to turn away over 160,000 largely due to lack of funding. These are the people that will suffer as a result of this Budget”.

“The unchanged funding in the Budget means the funding cliff for Community Legal Centres under the National Partnership Agreement for Legal Assistance is still a reality, amounting to $34.83 million cut between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2020”.

“We are also extremely concerned that funding cuts to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services amounting to over $6 million between 2014-2015 and 2017-2018 will continue, as will the underfunding of Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services and Legal Aid Commissions”.

“We welcome the additional funding for family violence, but it is disappointing that funding does not include funding for legal assistance services”.

“Facing a deficit of $37.1 billion in this Budget we understand the Government needs to make difficult decisions. However, it has ignored the expert recommendations made by bodies such as the Productivity Commission in forming this Budget, in particular the clear view that investing in legal assistance services makes economic sense, and that there is an urgent need for additional funding”.

“Time is running out. Community Legal Centre are facing a 30% cut to funding nationally from 1 July next year and hard decisions are already being made about cuts to services and staff.”

“The bottom line is that these cuts will have a significant impact on the ability of people across Australia to access the legal help they need. They deserve better. The message in the Budget was that the Government doesn’t think this is a priority,” Ms Monro concluded.

For further information or to arrange an interview contact:
Rosslyn Monro, Chairperson, 0407 633 084
Amanda Alford, Director Policy and Advocacy, 0421 028 645
Jackie Hanafie, Media Adviser, 0412 652 439

Free Legal services for young people under threat

Young people across Australia should be celebrating the opportunity to ‘Be The Future’ this National Youth Week says the National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC), not worrying about their legal problems or the ability to pay bills for a legal issue that won’t go away.

Community Legal Centres (CLCs) provide free legal help to children and young people across Australia. In 2015, CLCs assisted over 74,000 young people between 18-34 years and over 3,500 young people under 18 years. CLCs also provide free legal help to parents and others on issues affecting children, including over 3,300 advices on child protection issues and over 4,000 advices on child support last year” said Rosslyn Monro, NACLC Chairperson.

The Youth Advocacy Centre is a specialist CLC based in Brisbane. “We provide a range of services including legal advice and referrals to young people in the youth justice and child protection systems, and information and support to young people appearing in courts and tribunals, including a duty lawyer service at the Brisbane Children’s Court” said Janet Wight, Director, Youth Advocacy Centre.

“As well as providing court/casework to young people, we also run community legal education in schools and in the community which is crucial in letting young people know what their legal rights are, and what to do if they have a legal problem.”

The young people we help are extremely vulnerable. For example, last year 44% of our legal services clients were not living at home; 50% of our legal, youth support and family support clients had a past or current substance use problem; 45% of family support clients had a past or current mental health problem; and 77% of our bail support clients were known to Child Safety Services. Our service is crucial in ensuring that these young people get the advice and support they need,” Ms Wight said.

“At Youthlaw we are co-located with other youth services. We assist vulnerable young people who would otherwise not seek out legal help by themselves. They come from backgrounds of family breakdown, family violence, neglect and disadvantage. Most have been in families that have had no intervention from child protection system and are largely invisible to the community. We assist with their fines, debts, mistreatment and interactions with authorities. They are so thankful for our help. For once they feel the support and protection of the law instead of fearing its use against them. Legal help along with other services makes a big difference and allows them to get on with their lives,” said Ariel Couchman, Director of Youthlaw, based in Melbourne.

CLCs use a range of innovative tools to engage with children and young people. For example, the

2014 National Census of Community Legal Centres indicated that almost 20 percent of CLCs that responded use skype to provide legal advice and over 16 percent use Youtube to provide community legal education.

Youthlaw in Melbourne is an example of one of those CLCs that uses skype to reach out to its clients. Ms Couchman said “our skype legal service throughout regional Victoria reaches out to vulnerable young people where there is high disadvantage and few services and supports. This service is simple & cost effective and works with those most in need yet we struggle every year to get funding to keep it going.”

“However, CLCs across Australia face a 30% funding cut to Federal funding from 1 July next year. That sort of cut will have a significant impact on the ability of CLCs to help children and young people who need our help” added Rosslyn Monro, NACLC Chairperson.

As a result, this National Youth Week, NACLC reiterates its call for:

  1. Reversal of the Commonwealth funding cuts to CLCs under the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance amounting to $34.83 million from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2020
  2. An immediate injection of $200 million per year into the broader legal assistance service system, as recommended by the Productivity Commission, which should be shared between the Commonwealth (60%) and the States and Territories (40%). This should equate to at least an additional $24 million per year allocated to CLCs ($14.4 million p.a. Commonwealth and $9.6 million p.a. from States and Territories); and
  3. A commitment by all levels of Government to implementing an appropriate process for determining adequate and sustainable longer-term funding contributions for legal assistance in consultation with the sector.

Open the link to view the PDF: Free Legal services for young people under threat

 To arrange an interview or for more information please contact:

 Rosslyn Monro, NACLC Chairperson, 0407 633 084
Jackie Levett, Media Officer, 0434 995 611
Janet Wight, Director, Youth Advocacy Centre (Brisbane), 07 3356 1002
Ariel Couchman, Director, Youthlaw (Melbourne), 0438 812 937

 

Launch of new campaign: Community Law Australia—Fund Equal Justice

Leading community lawyers from across Australia will meet in Canberra tomorrow to brief Members of Parliament and Senators about the work of Community Legal Centres (CLCs) and call for urgent action to help people missing out on legal help.

The new national campaign, Community Law Australia—Fund Equal Justice, is being led by the National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC). The campaign is being launched against the backdrop of rising demand for legal help, but funding cuts to crucial Community Legal Centre services.

“Community Legal Centres provide essential legal help to those in need. While family violence and family law are the top specialist areas for CLCs, we provide a range of legal help to people across a range of legal areas, including debt, employment, housing, social security, and child protection” said Rosslyn Monro, Campaign Spokesperson and NACLC Chairperson ahead of the launch.

“New figures released today from the NACLC 2015 Census reveal that CLCs are turning away more than 160,000 people each year. However, there is a looming 30% cut to national Community Legal Centre funding next year under the new National Partnership Agreement for Legal Assistance Services” said Ms Monro.

“In the context of a relatively small overall budget for CLCs, these funding cuts of between $11m and $12m every year between 2017 and 2020 will have a significant impact on CLC service delivery, and therefore on the ability of people seeking legal help to receive the help they need. For example, a 30% cut to Commonwealth funding nationally is likely to lead to 36,435 fewer clients assisted and 45, 644 fewer advices provided” added Ms Monro.

NACLC calls on the Federal Government to:

  • reverse the national funding cuts to CLCs under the National Partnership Agreement (amounting to $34.83m between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2020)
  • immediately inject $120m per year into the legal assistance sector, consistent with the recommendation made by the Productivity Commission, including at a minimum $14.4m per year to CLCs and appropriate amounts for Family Violence Prevention Legal Services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and Legal Aid Commissions, and
  • commit to developing a process for determining sustainable long-term funding contributions to the legal assistance sector

For further information or to arrange an interview contact:
Rosslyn Monro NACLC Chairperson, 0407 633 084
Amanda Alford, NACLC Director Policy and Advocacy, 0421 028 645

Productivity Commission urges more funding for legal assistance, defends advocacy by publicly funded community legal centres

In its final report on access to justice arrangements released today, the Productivity Commission has recommended significant additional funding to help people with a range of civil legal problems such as family violence, employment, housing and debt, which have a significant impact on the lives of many Australians.

The Commission called for better evidence on legal and unmet legal need in Australia, and for governments to report annually on the extent of any failure to meet agreed coverage and priorities.

‘This report should mark a watershed moment in legal assistance in Australia. The Productivity Commission has recognised the severe social and economic impacts of an inaccessible justice system, and it has acknowledged the system is badly underfunded.

‘The report provides strong arguments against the deep cuts inflicted on community legal sector in the last Federal Budget and indicates the immediate reversal of those cuts and a significant increase in funding are needed,’ said Community Law Australia national spokesperson, Carolyn Bond AO, today.

‘Instead of massive cuts, this report is calling for the injection of $200 million to legal assistance services including community legal centres, Aboriginal legal services and legal aid. We support that as a starting point to ensure that access to legal help does not depend on your capacity to pay for a private lawyer,’ Ms Bond said.

The report notes that legal assistance funding in Australia is less than a third of per capita levels in the UK.

The Commission also endorsed the use of public funds by community legal centres for advocacy and law reform, with a specific recommendation that they be funded as a core activity.

This strengthens the Commission’s position expressed in its draft report, and runs counter to measures introduced by the Federal Government in July to limit law reform activities by community legal centres using Federal funds.

‘The Commission has rightly acknowledged the value of community legal centres working to resolve individual cases, and learning from those cases to argue for improvements in the law to prevent problems arising in the first place. The report clearly notes that advocacy and law reform by community legal centres can address underlying problems and reduce the demand for frontline services.

‘The Federal Government should acknowledge the findings of the Commission and immediately remove restrictions on advocacy and law reform using public funds,’ Ms Bond said.

Ms Bond congratulated the Commission on its detailed recommendations to improve access to justice in Australia, and urged the Federal Government to engage the community legal sector in framing its response.

The Productivity Commission’s report on access to justice arrangements can be accessed here:

http://www.pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/access-justice/report

Download this media release (PDF)

To arrange an interview

Darren Lewin-Hill on 0488 773 535

Funding certainty call for Indigenous family violence legal help

The Community Law Australia national access to justice campaign calls on the Prime Minister and Attorney-General to guarantee a direct and sustainable funding allocation to the Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS) program.

Funding uncertainty for the program and its high-need Indigenous family violence clients has entered a critical phase under new tender arrangements, with the government failing to confirm if legal services are even eligible under guidelines for the Indigenous Advancement Strategy released on 8 August.

“We know the high need of Indigenous women and children for legal help with family violence. Yet this funding uncertainty compounds the deep cuts to the program in December 2013 and the significant cuts to the broader community legal sector advised both in December and as part of the May Federal Budget,” said Carolyn Bond AO, national spokesperson for the Community Law Australia national access to justice campaign.

In December 2013, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet assumed responsibility for the program from the Attorney-General’s Department. Since then the FVPLS program has lost status as a stand-alone program, the basis on which it has operated for the last 16 years.

“We would expect a move to the department of a Prime Minister who claims to champion women and Indigenous people would see special recognition and priority for Indigenous legal help, not moves to downgrade FVPLS from a stand-alone program,” Ms Bond said.

“Indigenous women and children facing family violence require urgent action from the Federal Government, not an attack on the services that provide them with free legal help. They are the real victims of funding cuts to legal help; they are the real victims when vital programs are placed on an increasingly precarious footing,” Ms Bond said.

“We call on the Federal Government to fund the Family Violence Prevention Legal Services program to match its stated commitment to Indigenous people.

“The government should also heed the findings of the recently published Review of the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services, which included Indigenous people within the disadvantaged groups that should be targeted as a priority for legal assistance,” Ms Bond concluded.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are 31 times more likely to be hospitalised as a result of violence and 15 times more likely to seek support from homelessness services to escape family violence, according to the National FVPLS Forum.

Background

New threat for Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (National FVPLS Forum media release, PDF)

NACLC strongly supports calls by National FVPLS Forum for reinstatement of direct funding (NACLC media release)

ALAF statement of support — Continuation of direct funding for the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS) program (ALAF media release)

Review of National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services

Download this media release (PDF)

To arrange an interview

Darren Lewin-Hill on 0488 773 535

National conference hears widespread concerns over restrictions on advocacy by community legal centres

Thursday 14 August 2014 – for immediate release

A national conference of community legal centres in Alice Springs has heard widespread concern over the impact on disadvantaged clients of restrictions on use of federal funding for advocacy, policy and law reform.

The restrictions place at risk effective law reform work that can prevent legal problems arising in areas such as family violence, homelessness and disability.

The restrictions introduced on 1 July run counter to a draft Productivity Commission finding that advocacy and law reform are central to community legal work.

In practice the broader effect of the restrictions will be that many centres decide not to speak publicly about any issue over fears their funding may be at risk.

The restrictions coincide with significant funding cuts to community legal centres through MYEFO and the May Federal Budget.

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus will address the national conference at the Alice Springs Convention Centre 1.30pm today together with Emeritus Professor Jim Ife, of the Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University.

Community legal centres provide free legal help for people who do not qualify for legal aid, but cannot afford a private lawyer – a group that includes a large number of disadvantaged people, including, for example, homeless people and women facing family violence. A conservative estimate by the Australia Institute has found that 500,000 people miss out on legal help every year in Australia.

Available for comment:

Carolyn Bond AO, National Spokesperson, Community Law Australia
Liana Buchanan, Chair, Community Law Australia
Michael Smith, National Convenor,
National Association of Community Legal Centres.

To arrange media comment:

Darren Lewin-Hill
0488 773 535
Communications Manager
Federation of Community Legal Centres

Released review shows legal services need funding boost, not Federal Budget cuts or further “efficiencies”

A recently released review by independent consultants has identified the need for a funding boost to meet the legal needs of disadvantaged Australians. The review strengthens the case for the current Productivity Commission Inquiry into Access to Justice Arrangements to recommend a funding increase when it publishes its final report in September.

The Review of the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services by the Allen Consulting Group (NPA Review), commissioned by the Federal Government, also undermines the basis of significant cuts imposed on community legal centres and other free legal assistance services through MYEFO and the May Federal Budget.

“The evidence is clear that a substantial funding boost is what community legal centres need, not the cuts we have seen or further efficiencies to redirect inadequate funding in the current system. Cuts and the search for ‘efficiencies’ are putting legal help for ordinary people further out of reach when they have no other options and can’t afford a private lawyer,” said Community Law Australia national spokesperson, Carolyn Bond, today.

The NPA Review noted specific service shortages for people with a mental illness, people with a disability and people experiencing homelessness; and service gaps for legal problems such as employment, equal opportunity and discrimination law, migration and refugee law and guardianship law.

“Community legal centres are struggling to meet demand, so it is no surprise to us that resources are inadequate,” Ms Bond said.

“We see first-hand how, if these problems aren’t addressed, they can escalate and lead to further problems such as poor health and homelessness. This means there is a high social and financial cost if legal problems aren’t addressed early.

“The report findings support our calls for increased resources for community legal centres – and the legal assistance sector as a whole. While the Government recently announced some small one-off grants, these are far outweighed by the cuts announced for 2015 and beyond. The Budget papers showed the Government plans to cut over 25 per cent of annual federal CLC funding by 2017–18,” Ms Bond said.

She said there would need to be broad consultation with, and participation, by all legal assistance providers (including community legal centres) about some of the system reforms proposed by the report, including clearer specification of service eligibility and streamlining of services.

However, she welcomed the report’s note of caution on the question of contracting out services and adopting systems from overseas, which the report said could be more expensive, and provide less “holistic” services than in Australia. The report found that Australia’s per capita spend on legal assistance was much lower than in countries such as the UK, where contracting out of services occurs.

“The NPA Review offers important insights into the funding of legal assistance services, and we are pleased that it has been made available to inform the public debate around these vital issues, including the current Productivity Commission inquiry,” Ms Bond concluded.

Australia’s 200 community legal centres give free legal help on issues such as employment, family violence, tenancy, discrimination, and debts.

Background

Economic cost benefit analysis of community legal centres

Download this media release (PDF)

To arrange an interview

Darren Lewin-Hill on 0488 773 535

Budget cuts to free legal help hit vulnerable and isolated Victorians

Vulnerable people in outer-suburban and regional Victoria are less likely to get the legal help they need as Federal Government cuts to community legal centres roll out nationally.

“As the human impact of these cuts emerges, it’s becoming clear that they’re hitting vulnerable and isolated Victorians, people who are already missing out and who need help the most,” said Carolyn Bond AO, national spokesperson for Community Law Australia, today.

In addition to $19.6 million cuts to community legal centres nationally, announced last December, there was an additional $6 million cut in the recent Federal Budget. Ms Bond said that despite the Federal Government’s claims that the cuts would not hit frontline services, this was exactly what was happening.

“Victorian community legal centres will either need to reduce the number of lawyers available to help people, turn away more people seeking help, limit the range of problems they can address, or restrict the regional areas they can cover,” Ms Bond said.

Two of the fourteen affected organisations are in regional Victoria, seven in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, and three are statewide specialist legal services.

Services likely to be affected by the cuts include:

• Family violence lawyers helping people with intervention orders;
• Specialist legal advice for regional and remote young people;
• Legal help across high-need, complex, and culturally diverse regional areas.

Lisa Maree Stevens of the Murray Mallee Community Legal Centre, said funding cuts would likely mean that 80–100 vulnerable clients, including Aboriginal women, would miss out on legal help each year if the centre had to cut back on its intervention order assistance and outreach.

“We cover a large geographic area, and our lawyers visit a number of disadvantaged communities, as well as a number of regional courts. When we have to cut back these services next year, there are no other services to pick up this vital work,” Ms Stevens said today.

Ariel Couchman from Youthlaw said their Skype program had been very successful, delivering legal help to young people who couldn’t physically get to services in the big towns and cities.

“The disadvantaged young people we help are facing very tough times in regional and remote Victoria. They are often reluctant to seek help even with homelessness and other serious social problems. Even fewer will do so if our Skype legal advice service is reduced as a result of these cuts,” Ms Couchman said.

Peter Noble from the Goulburn Valley Community Legal Centre said the centre was likely to lose one of its three lawyers, who provide legal help across northern central Victoria stretching from Seymour to the Murray River, including the City of Greater Shepparton, one of Australia’s most complex, needy and culturally rich communities.

“We work with other local services to help people address underlying problems, prevent further legal issues arising, and relieve pressure on the courts and legal system. The disadvantaged people we help are usually not equipped to deal with their legal problems on their own, but funding cuts will mean that some of these people will miss out,” Mr Noble said.

Michael Smith from the Eastern Community Legal Centre said funding cuts placed their new services in the Yarra Ranges, and their family violence work, at serious risk. He said both these services had been provided in response to areas of high legal need.

“Without funding, our services must be reduced and people in need will miss out,” Mr Smith said.

“Even before these damaging cuts, community legal centres were already grossly underfunded and struggled to meet increasing demand for help with serious legal problems from people unable to afford a private lawyer. These cuts will only make that situation worse,” Ms Bond said.

“We know that community legal centres are already very efficient in the help they provide, and that nationally at least 500,000 Australians miss out on legal help every year. The answer is funding community legal centres properly to meet increasing need, not cutting their funding,” Ms Bond said.

Further information

Brandis ties NGO funding to non-advocacy

Brandis restrictions starting tomorrow seek to silence community legal centres speaking out on unfair laws, policies and practices

Last chance to be heard for law services, fighting to protect the most vulnerable

Advocacy and frontline services vital to achieve access to justice

Federal budget cuts to community legal centres in the news

Economic benefit of community legal centres strong, says cost benefit analysis

Community legal centres accuse Federal Government of gagging

Download this media release (PDF)

To arrange an interview

Darren Lewin-Hill on 0488 773 535