Media Release: Community legal sector welcomes reversal of Commonwealth Government funding cuts
The National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) today welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement that it will reverse the 30% cut to Commonwealth funding for Community Legal Centres (CLCs) that was due to take effect on 1 July 2017.
The Attorney-General and Minister for Women made the announcement in Brisbane earlier today. The announcement includes $39 million for CLCs over three years additional funding under the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services.
“The announcement today is a welcome one. It is excellent news for all those people who rely on the help of CLCs every day and for our centres and communities across Australia,” said NACLC Chief Executive Officer Nassim Arrage.
“This funding is a lifeline for a sector that was facing significant cuts. The reversal will mean people across Australia will get access to the legal help they were going to be denied from 1 July if the funding cliff went ahead.
“We have been working hard over a long period of time to emphasise the vital importance of the services that CLCs provide and the devastating impact cuts would have had - today the Government has recognised this.
“We understand that this additional funding will be targeted at the family law and family violence work of CLCs. The Government has assured us that they understand the broad and significant flow-on effects family violence can have in a range of areas of law including housing, credit and debt and employment and that the funding can be used for these services.
“We are looking forward to receiving more detailed information about how the funding will be allocated between jurisdictions and to CLCs across Australia.
“Importantly, today’s announcement is a lifeline, but there is more work to do. It sets the stage for us to work with the Government to work out the best way to ensure the ongoing sustainability of this vital sector in the face of rising demand for legal help.
“We also recognise that funding for CLCs isn’t the sole responsibility of the Commonwealth Government. While we welcome recent announcements by some State Governments of additional funding for CLCs, we continue to call on all State and Territory Government’s to increase their funding to CLCs.
The announcement also included an additional $16.7 million for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS).
“We also welcome the additional funding for ATSILS, which provide crucial services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia and are an indispensable part of the legal assistance sector,” Mr Arrage concluded.
To arrange an interview or for more information please contact:
Nassim Arrage, CEO NACLC, 0408 092 256
Amanda Alford, Director Policy and Advocacy NACLC, 0421 028 645
Jackie Hanafie, Media Adviser, 0412 652 439
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