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Weather-Makers: CLCs Creating a Climate of Change (#naclc12)
National CLCs Conference 2012, Adelaide, South Australia
28-31 August 2012
If you compare the Australian Government’s 2009 access to justice principles of accessibility, appropriateness, equity, efficiency and effectiveness; and its access to justice methodology that includes information, early intervention, referral, building resilience and directing attention to the causes of legal issues - with the philosophy, discourse and service delivery model of CLCs, you cannot doubt CLCs’ profound influence on the Australian justice system over the last 40 years.
If you examine the COAG reform agenda, which includes closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage, workforce productivity and social inclusion; you see central commitments of decades of CLCs’ core work.
At the 2012 National CLCs Conference, we recognise and celebrate how active CLCs have been in change: with innovative legal practice, accessible, community-based and cooperative service delivery, and improving policy and law that affect social justice outcomes. CLCs have a long history in policy and law reform because they are concerned to identify and address the causes of legal problems and disadvantage. They are committed not merely to changing the situation of the one client who presents, but the many who may be similarly affected.
This, our 33rd National Conference, will display the work of CLCs in all its diversity and innovation. The sharing and showcasing of CLCs’ knowledge and experience, ideas and strategies, and the results of so much committed labour is one of the great offerings of our annual conference.
You will see and hear about innovative and good practice examples of targeted legal services, law reform, community legal education and community development, in areas as diverse as elder to environmental law, housing to human rights; and service delivery mechanisms that range from courtwork to tweeting, from letter writing to appearing before UN Committees.
You will also have the benefit of many sessions and out of session discussions on how CLCs can do things more effectively, in service delivery and in organisational matters: strategies that work, and lessons learned from things that did not work so well, from here and overseas.
There will be presentations and training on new tools and support available to CLCs, including for improving governance, ascertaining legal needs, evidence-based strategic planning utilising legal needs assessment, improving data quality and using data effectively for multiple purposes.
You will see CLCs’ effectiveness and efficiency demonstrated in terms of economic cost-benefit, and even more so in terms of social equity outcomes.
The conference theme is also a call to CLCs to continue to proactively change themselves. While CLCs these days are many and various, the sector remains united in a commitment to meeting the needs of our communities, the disadvantaged and those with special needs. It follows that as communities and their legal needs change, so too must CLCs.
Whatever the formal outcomes of current reviews, and any changes that may follow from those or other external causes, our sector must take responsibility for our action and inaction. Even in a changing climate, CLCs have a role as weathermakers.
We invite you to join us and celebrate a sector that can meet this challenge.