Peninsula Legal Centre crushed by government's cruel cuts

Peninsula Community Legal Centre in Frankston will be forced to turn away hundreds of local residents from Isaacs and Dunkley from 1 July thanks to devastating cuts inflicted by George Brandis and the Turnbull Government.

The Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP

Shadow Attorney General
Shadow Minister for National Security
Federal Member for Isaacs

 MEDIA RELEASE 

PENINSULA LEGAL CENTRE CRUSHED BY GOVERNMENT’S CRUEL CUTS

Peninsula Community Legal Centre in Frankston will be forced to turn away hundreds of local residents from Isaacs and Dunkley from 1 July thanks to devastating cuts inflicted by George Brandis and the Turnbull Government.

Community Legal Centres help hundreds of thousands of people around Australia in need of free legal assistance who do not qualify for legal aid. They are on the frontline in the battle against domestic violence and assist people with problems as diverse as Centrelink debt, tenancy disputes and employment issues.

Peninsula Legal Centre and its dedicated staff have been helping our local community for 40 years. Now it is set to lose nearly 30 per cent of its Commonwealth funding, which will seriously jeopardise its ability to operate.

“We are facing a crisis in access to justice with so many people unable to afford lawyers but ineligible for legal aid. Community Legal Centres are vital in helping those who would otherwise ‘fall through the cracks’ with legal services targeted to those most in need,” Peninsula Legal Centre Chief Executive Officer Jackie Galloway said.

“Each year Peninsula Community Legal Centre helps thousands of people with a wide range of legal problems including family violence, family law, infringements, debt, consumer problems, tenancy disputes and employment issues. Last year the Centre provided 7,966 legal advices and conducted over 3,000 cases.”

“The impact of the Commonwealth funding cuts will be significant for the Centre and will mean an unavoidable reduction in front line services, loss of staff and an increase in waiting times for legal help. We urge Government to reverse the funding cuts and provide an immediate injection of additional funding to enable the Centre meet the ever increasing demand for legal services,” Ms Galloway said.

“These cuts to Community Legal Centres will hurt the Frankston and Kingston communities and see vulnerable local residents including victims of family violence turned away because of a lack of staff and resources,” Member for Isaacs Mark Dreyfus said.

“When in government, Labor delivered Community Legal Centres a funding injection worth more than $70 million over four years. Now Malcolm Turnbull is taking that funding away.”

“Labor calls on the government to reverse these cruel cuts as a matter of urgency. Vulnerable people in Dunkley and Isaacs are at risk, and I will continue to advocate on behalf of Peninsula Legal Centre,” Mr Dreyfus said.

WEDNESDAY 22 FEBRUARY 2017