Frankston’s first port of call for free legal advice, Peninsula Community Legal Centre, today celebrated their 35th Anniversary with the opening of a new building by Federal Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon.Community Law Australia campaign spokesperson Hugh de Kretser said that Peninsula CLC was a leading example of the value and support that a community legal centre can offer to people in need.“From humble beginnings in Frankston 35 years ago, Peninsula CLC now serves a large population across the South East and the Peninsula, delivering around 10,000 legal advice and representation services a year. Today is a chance to celebrate its achievements, but also to note that the demand for free, quality legal advice is not going away.
“People seeking help with issues like family violence, dodgy landlords, sorting out difficult family relationships or debt problems need somewhere to turn for quality legal advice,” de Kretser said.
“Legal issues like these arise no matter what’s in your bank balance or your circumstances. However, research by the Australia Institute earlier this year conservatively estimated half a million Australians each year miss out on legal help, mainly for financial reasons.
“Community legal centres help people who don’t qualify for legal aid but can’t afford a private lawyer. Their expertise is free, however their time and resources are extremely stretched by the high level of demand.
“Peninsula CLC is one of the largest CLCs in Victoria. But even it faces major challenges in meeting the demand for help. We need to properly fund and resource our legal system to cope with that demand.
“Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and Shadow Attorney-General George Brandis have both acknowledged that the issue of access is a vital one. We look forward to working with them to make equal access to the law a reality in Australia,” de Kretser said.