find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Competition, Policy & Regulatory
Category: Other | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Work with a well regarded Partner · Sydney CBD
View details
Commercial Litigation Senior Associate
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Lawyers Weekly Australia Partner of the Year 2016, Insolvency
View details
MULTIPLEX Regional Legal Counsel (Vic) | 7 to 10 years + PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Career defining in-house role · Tier One international contractor
View details
Junior Lawyer - Personal Injury Law
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Parramatta & Western Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Highly specialized practice · Challenging role with great opportunities
View details
IR Advisor/Member Advocate
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: St Leonards NSW 2065
· Permanent (0.8-1.0 FTE) role in a developing team
View details
Lifeline for NSW community legal centres

Lifeline for NSW community legal centres

Money

The Law Society of NSW has applauded the state government’s decision to provide a $6 million ‘rescue package’ to community legal centres.

The society released a statement this week, praising the state government and Attorney-General Mark Speakman SC for committing the additional funds. Law Society president Pauline Wright said the money will go towards filling the gap left by the federal government’s proposed CLC funding cuts of up to 30 per cent.

“Without the decisive action of the NSW Attorney-General, 37 community legal centres across the state would have faced major funding cuts and job losses in July this year, resulting in the most vulnerable people in our society being denied adequate and timely legal advice and services,” Ms Wright said.

“Community legal centres already face financial pressures, and the federal government’s proposal would have seen centres like Redfern, Northern Rivers and Illawarra facing cuts of more than 20 per cent.”

Ms Wright said the historical lack of funding in the community legal services sector means CLCs have to turn away thousands of people who need their assistance
– 34,000 in NSW in the last financial year alone. This shifts costs and pressure to the police and the court system.

The Law Society president called on the federal government to follow NSW’s lead, and take a compassionate and pragmatic approach to CLC funding across Australia.

This sentiment was prevalent at the Sixth National Access to Justice & Pro Bono Conference, held in Adelaide in late March. 

Law Council of Australia president Fiona McLeod SC said, the “steady erosion of government funding over a generation” has created a national crisis in community legal services.

“Scheduled funding cuts to community legal centres will amount to a loss of $35 million between 2017 and 2020,” she said.

“That’s a 30 per cent cut to Commonwealth funding for services that are already chronically under-resourced.

“The Productivity Commission has called for an extra $200 million for legal assistance because research shows these problems cost the economy long-term. Legal problems are a lot like medical problems: without prompt attention, they tend to get much worse.”

The $6 million rescue package in NSW will go only a little way towards addressing the overall problem, and the fact that an emergency measure like this is required at all is a telling indicator of the ongoing funding issues in community legal services. However, the package is a welcome relief for the state’s CLCs.

“I sincerely thank the new Attorney-General of NSW [for] coming to the rescue and [for] his government’s continued advocacy at the federal level to halt these proposed funding cuts to community legal centres,” Ms Wright said.

“As a regionally based solicitor for almost two decades, I’m particularly concerned about how proposed federal funding cuts will impact on rural and remote communities and Indigenous people throughout our state.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Lifeline for NSW community legal centres
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Handshake
Sep 20 2017
Silk picked to monitor national security laws
Dr James Renwick SC has been appointed as Independent National Security Legislation Monitor after se...
Two businessman, growth
Sep 19 2017
Aus catching up on international arbitration front
Australia is starting to see a spike in international arbitration with this set to continue over the...
Prison
Sep 19 2017
Manson family killer suffered ‘miscarriage of justice’: former lawyer
A retired Australian barrister has published a book on the Manson Family murders of 1969 and called ...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...