The announcement of a $33.5m funding increase for community legal centres has been enthusiastically welcomed by the National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC).
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus announced last Wednesday (24 July) that the CLC sector would receive the funding boost over four years.
“The additional funding for community legal centres is a landmark announcement by the Attorney-General. This major boost represents a 25 per cent increase in Commonwealth funding and recognises both the huge demand for legal help and the value of community legal centres to the community needing assistance,” said NACLC national convenor Michael Smith.
“NACLC is encouraged by the confidence the Government continues to show in the work of community legal centres across Australia.
“This is the largest [funding] increase to CLCs in memory and demonstrates a strong practical commitment to access to justice by the Attorney-General and the Commonwealth Government. While there is more to do, this additional funding will make a real difference to many communities needing legal help.”
Funding initiatives for the legal assistance services sector outlined by the Attorney-General included $4 million allocated over four years to support unrepresented litigants in civil law matters in the Federal Court and federal circuit courts across Australia.
It also included $1.1 million for a second round of grants in the National Broadband Network Regional Legal Assistance Program. The program trials projects developed by CLCs and other legal assistance providers with the aim of increasing access to legal assistance in rural, regional and remote Australia through technology.
The Attorney-General has dedicated a further $18 million over four years to establish and implement knowmore, the independent service giving free legal advice to people who are considering telling their story or providing information to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.