find the latest legal job
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Property Lawyer
Category: Property Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· 12 Month Contract · Diverse Work
View details
In-House Legal Counsel (Mid to Senior)| Regulated Markets (Energy and Gas)
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Full PD on Request · Exciting High Impact Role
View details
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
Boasted Qld grants just small fry

Boasted Qld grants just small fry

THE QUEENSLAND State Government last week announced the delivery of its community legal centre grants, which are set to improve the quality of legal assistance in the state. Totalling more than…

THE QUEENSLAND State Government last week announced the delivery of its community legal centre grants, which are set to improve the quality of legal assistance in the state.

Totalling more than $550,000, the money is expected to help upgrade technology and services in particular. The grants reveal the Government’s recognition that the 17 community legal centres affected “are at the coalface of the justice system”, Attorney General and Minister for Justice Rod Welford said.

But in an interview with Lawyers Weekly, the legal centres expressed continued concern about the “serious” lack of funding, arguing that although they were grateful for the bonus, funding was “really going backwards”.

The Toowoomba Community Legal Service received more than $166,000 under the recent grant, which is already pigeonholed to expand the centre’s Rural Women Outreach legal service. As well, the money would be spent on improving technology, including introducing teleconferencing facilities, said manager John Stewart.

Arguing that the Service was grateful for the “bonus” grant, Stewart said it only allows them to “just do the things that perhaps should have been done a long time ago”.

The funding is essentially not enough to cover the services provided by the Toowoomba centre, Stewart said. “We are always under funded,” he said. “The funding to allow the infrastructure we would like is not there either.”

Legal centres such as this are the “poor cousins” of Legal Aid and the firms, according to Stewart, although he acknowledged his centre was also better off than others.

The Toowoomba funding was highlighted by the Government in a statement due to its creating a “central hub” that will use technology to support and enhance the work of a number of smaller centres. These may include Goondiwindi, St George, Cunnamulla, Roma, Tara or Charleville.

The South West Brisbane Community Legal Centre, which received nearly $57,000 in the recent bout of funding, will not be used for technology, a spokesperson said. The funding will help ensure the Centre’s financial viability, and has helped to employ a solicitor part-time to undertake a project in child protection.

The community centres are allowed to use the funding to improve their financial viability, as well as for technology improvements and projects, said Bill Mitchell, convenor of the Queensland Association of Independent Legal Services (QAILS), which represents 33 legal centres in Queensland.

Townsville used its $32,000 grant to improve financial viability. But, Mitchell said, the funding is still not enough to cover the cost of running the legal centre there. This “one-off bonus” is to be reflected in the Legal Profession Act 2004, in a statutory interest fund that will allow centres to apply for bonuses.

When you look at the overall funding, said Mitchell, there is not enough, despite a good contribution from both the Commonwealth and state governments. The Commonwealth contributes about 63 per cent, and almost all the rest comes from the state government, according to QAILS figures.

Mitchell and QAILS are now lobbying the state government for increases, arguing that they do not receive enough to be viable. Queensland community legal centres receive close to $2 million in total each year, but QAILS is calling for a further $1 million from the state government, which would lessen the disparity between state and federal funding.

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

Boasted Qld grants just small fry
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Law Council of Australia
Nov 21 2017
LCA calls for urgent adoption of ‘game-changing’ recommendation
The Law Council of Australia has urged for the immediate adoption of a key recommendation put forwar...
Sally Wheeler
Nov 20 2017
ANU College of Law appoints new dean
A distinguished legal academic and the former head of law of a higher education institution in Irela...
Violence
Nov 17 2017
It's time for politicians to commit to eradicating domestic violence
The national shame of domestic violence cannot be left unaddressed, writes Christine Smyth. ...
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 & ...