Labor's Boost For Community Legal Centres

A Shorten Labor Government will deliver Community Legal Centres across the country the funding they need to keep their doors open, after three years of devastating cuts by the Abbott-Turnbull Government.

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW ATTORNEY GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MEMBER FOR ISAACS


LABOR’S BOOST FOR COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRES

A Shorten Labor Government will deliver Community Legal Centres across the country the funding they need to keep their doors open, after three years of devastating cuts by the Abbott-Turnbull Government.

Community Legal Centres (CLCs) like the Redfern Legal Centre help vulnerable people at times of great need, when they are unable to pay for legal help themselves. Despite the importance of these frontline services Malcolm Turnbull and George Brandis have cut millions of dollars from Community Legal Centres, Legal Aid Commissions and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services.

Attorney General, George Brandis, has been entirely absent from this election campaign - perhaps because the legacy of his three-year term has been so shameful that the Liberal campaign does not want to remind the Australian people about it.

160,000 people were turned away from Community Legal Centres last year alone. Centres face a 30 per cent funding cut on 1 July 2017, which will see many centres having to close their doors to clients. This is not right and Labor will address it.

Under a Shorten Labor Government, frontline legal services will receive around $43 million in funding over three years from 1 July 2017 so they can keep doing their vital work.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Tanya Plibersek and Shadow Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, visited the Redfern Legal Centre today, which will receive $450,000 over three years under a Shorten Labor Government.

The Redfern Legal Centre is typical of many CLCs across the country. Its hardworking staff service a large range of clients with diverse legal issues, from tenants’ rights, to domestic violence, to family law disputes, and they are frequently overwhelmed with demand. They do not want to turn people away, but sometimes they have to.

Including Redfern Legal Centre there are ten community legal services within the electorate that will receive additional funding under a Shorten Labor Government.  These are the Tenants Union of NSW, Financial Rights Legal Centre, Court Support Scheme, the Australian Centre for Disability Law, Inner City Legal Centre, HIV/AIDS Legal Centre, the Immigration Advice and Rights Centre, Seniors Rights Service and the Welfare Rights Centre.  These services will receive over $1.8 million in much-needed funding over three years.

Access to justice is a fundamental right of all Australians. Only a Shorten Labor Government will ensure that right is safeguarded – the only guarantee you will get from the Turnbull Government is further funding cuts.

TUESDAY, 7 JUNE 2016