Wednesday, 15 March 2017

No Funding Cuts to Community Legal Centres

The legal assistance sector has reached a funding crisis point.

The Government has announced cuts of $34.8 million over the next three years to around 190 community legal centres and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services around Australia. These cuts represent 30% of the annual budget and will begin from 1 July 2017. This will place more pressure on an already stretched legal assistance sector which in 2014-15 had to turn 159,220 people away.

What do Community Legal Centres (CLCs) do?

  • CLCs are not-for-profit community-based free and accessible legal services.
  • CLCs help over 216,000 people each year who can’t afford a lawyer and aren’t eligible for Government Legal Aid, including:
    • people with a disability (26.6% of clients) and
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (15.3% of clients).
  • CLCs assist with cases involving family violence, relationship breakdown, debt, consumer problems, problems with Centrelink, tenancy disputes and employment issues.

How will these cuts affect our community?

  • People already experiencing disadvantage will become even more vulnerable and be denied justice.
  • Cuts to legal services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will not help reduce over-representation within the criminal justice system.
  • Unresolved legal problems will lead to further costs for Government and the community.

You can act to reverse this injustice.

Add your message to the #fundequaljustice campaign.

Use the form below to write your own letter to Attorney-General Senator George Brandis - see our letter to the Prime Minister expressing our concern about the cuts.

Please add your personal touch to the letter, such as your background, why you care, and what CLCs have done for you. 

Your letter will be much more effective if you personalise it.