Peninsula Community Legal Centre received a visit from State Attorney-General Martin Pakula, State Member for Frankston, Paul Edbrooke and Member for Carrum, Sonia Kilkenny, last week to announce a funding boost for their Fines Clinic.
The Centre’s Fines Clinic will receive $100,000 over 2 years as part of the Andrews Labor Government announcement of an extra $8.9 million dollar boost for Victorian community legal centres.
Mr Pakula said:
“The Andrews Labor Government is making access to justice easier and fairer by supporting community legal centres across the state.
I congratulate each of the recipients on their successful application and thank each of them for their hard work and dedication to the Victorian community.”
Peninsula Community Legal Centre have been running the Fines Clinic for 2 years helping many vulnerable and disadvantaged clients access legal help when faced with escalating fine debt. Nearly 30% of all toll fines occur in the Centre’s catchment area. The Centre has assisted with over 8 million dollars in fines, on average our clients are facing $20,000 in outstanding fines. Approximately half of the clients report having a disability and/or mental illness. This situation will often lead to clients attempting to navigate the system by themselves. Becoming overwhelmed with the systems complexity, the outstanding amount increases exponentially due to the disproportionate penalties that are incurred as a result of the non-payment, states Kate Ross, the Centre’s Director Legal Services.
Recently, Emily presented to the Centre with over $3,000 worth of toll fines.
While only 23 years old, she had a long history of abuse and neglect at the hands of her mother. She was also being bullied at her workplace to the point where she had to leave. Having no stable accommodation, Emily had been living with friends and acquaintances for quite sometime. She eventually realized she had some outstanding toll fines and became aware that the letters had been going to her mother’s house, who had not passed them on. She became very distressed and contacted Peninsula Community Legal Centre for advice. The lawyers at the Centre were able to have the fines revoked and enable Emily to focus on her pressing need for accommodation and employment.
Chief Executive Office, Jackie Galloway, said:
“This is just an example of the some of the impossible situations some of our clients face. I am incredibly proud of the lawyers involved in the Fines Clinic – through their dedication and knowledge we have helped many Victorians navigate this difficult and complex system. The recent announcement from the Attorney-General enables us to continue this necessary and vital work.”
Peninsula Community Legal Centre provides free legal services; operating since 1977 from offices in Frankston, Bentleigh, Cranbourne, Rosebud and Frankston North. Lawyers from the Centre also provide outreach services to Hastings and Chelsea. The Centre operates duty lawyer services at Dandenong Family Law Courts and Frankston Magistrates’ Court Family Violence Service. The Centre also helps with tenant and rooming house issues.
For more information about free legal services, please call (03) 9783 3600 or visit www.pclc.org.au.
13 December 2017
PENINSULA COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE INC.