THE COMMONWEALTH Community Services Legal Program (CSLP) has received a welcome boost, with Attorney-General Robert McClelland last week announcing that it will be receiving an additional, one-off, $10 million in funding.
The money will be allocated on a needs basis, taking into account centres’ current funding levels, locations and client demographics, with all Commonwealth-funded centres receiving some additional money. The additional funds will be used to help manage the increasing demand for the program’s services.
The additional funding coincides with the completion of the Commonwealth’s review of the CLSP which, according the Attorney-General’s department, has confirmed that the program plays a key role in assisting members of the community with legal problems, and the expertise and innovative approach that has been taken by community legal centres in providing this assistance.
The Department will shortly consult with stakeholders about these findings.
This latest $10 million funding boost is on top of $22.6 million which is being provided by the Commonwealth to community legal centres.
The Commonwealth has also allocated an additional $7 million for legal aid which will help to fund the most pressing needs in the system.
“Community legal centres and legal aid provide valuable assistance to disadvantaged people in a range of areas, including family and criminal law, tenancy issues, employment disputes and consumer credit and debt,” McClelland said.
“The Rudd Government recognises that without such support people can be prevented from fully participating in society, causing their problems to escalate and entrenching disadvantage.”