Responsible lending is the key to lessening financial distress, says Peninsula Community Legal Centre, an organisation that provides free legal services in Melbourne’s outer south eastern suburbs and adjoining rural areas.

Chief Executive Officer, Helen Constas, says:

“We are concerned to hear that, as a result of Dun & Bradstreet’s recent geographic consumer credit risk study, suburbs such as Frankston North are being labelled as “high risk” for loan defaults.

In any one geographical area, potential borrowers and borrowers have a multitude of varying circumstances. Appropriate lending based on assets, liabilities and capacity to re-pay are the only genuine indicators that lenders should consider in determining whether or not a loan should be offered. We hope that geography won’t become a lending criterion in the future.

As an organisation assisting disadvantaged clients with a range of legal issues, including credit and debt, we commonly see the human – as well as economic – cost of unscrupulous lending practices.”

For more information about free legal services, please contact Peninsula Community Legal Centre on (03) 9783 3600 or visit


16 September 2009


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Many people make a lifestyle choice to live in residential and caravan parks, they have considered their options and decided that this is the one which best suits their current situation. However, for an ever increasing number of people, caravan parks and rooming houses are the only option left for emergency and longer-term accommodation. Often community organisations and housing groups have little option but to place and fund people into this accommodation.

There is growing concern that people in this situation are often reluctant to exercise their rights as residents. This is because many are afraid that they will jeopardise their final housing option and risk becoming homeless.

The Peninsula Community Legal Centre (PCLC) Caravan Park & Rooming House Outreach Project is based in Frankston, but operates across most of the eastern and southern metropolitan regions of Melbourne. The Project aims to assist residents of caravan parks, residential parks, rooming houses and student rooming houses in their negotiations with owners and operators, by informing them about their rights and responsibilities, and about services available to assist them and of how to access these.

The Project is also playing an important role in bringing together knowledge about the experiences of people living in caravan parks and rooming houses and the issues confronting them.

“The PCLC Caravan Park & Rooming House Outreach Project is aiming to contribute to the knowledge and debate which will help to inform good social policy and appropriate regulatory frameworks. Ultimately, we all want to ensure that caravan parks and rooming houses are a safe housing option and the rights of residents are protected” said Ms Constas.

For more information about the PCLC Caravan Park & Rooming House Outreach Project and other services, please phone 9783 3600 or check PCLC’s website .

2 September 2009

Contact: Gillian Wilks Manager – Projects & Development Peninsula Community Legal Centre Inc. Ph: 9783 3600 ext 28.

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Peninsula Community Legal Centre is experiencing high demand for free legal services at its Cranbourne office.

Chief Executive Officer, Helen Constas, says:

“Peninsula Community Legal Centre has been providing free legal services to the Cranbourne and surrounding communities for almost 20 years. Recognising the need for local, free legal services, the Victorian Government provided funding for the Centre to open a branch office in Cranbourne in 2005.

The Centre’s Cranbourne office operates five days and one evening each week, offering free legal advice on most areas of law, with ongoing assistance targeted to assist clients experiencing disadvantage. The Centre also offers dedicated Family Law, Child Support, Family Violence, Tenant and Consumer Programs, and a range of community legal education and special projects.

In the past year at our Cranbourne branch, we have experienced an increase of around 25% in clients seeking help with debts and bankruptcy, and our family law services are continually in high demand.

Peninsula CLC’s Family Law Program, which provides duty lawyer services at the nearby Dandenong Family Law Courts, as well as advice and ongoing assistance, has been under increased pressure as a result of reduced Victoria Legal Aid funding for family law matters, which has also meant that a number of private lawyers have opted out of doing legal aid work. We have observed an increase in self-represented litigants, adding to pressures on duty lawyer services. In the past financial year, we had an increase of around 16% in client activities at the Dandenong Family Law Courts.

Given the current funding shortages at Victoria Legal Aid, and impact of the global financial crisis, we can expect the already high demand for our free legal services to further increase in the coming year.”


24 July 2009


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If you need a lawyer, or information about the law, Peninsula Community Legal Centre can help.

The Centre provides free legal services and can arrange interpreters if needed. Every year the Centre helps thousands of people with legal issues, such as family separation, family violence, disputes with neighbours, car accidents, fines and much more.

Services are available to anyone who lives, works or studies in the municipalities of Frankston, Kingston, Casey, Glen Eira, Mornington Peninsula and Cardinia.

Workers at the Centre believe that everyone should be treated fairly, and are committed to helping people use the law to protect their rights and freedoms. Your privacy is assured at all times.

For more information, or to make an appointment, please contact Peninsula Community Legal Centre on 9783 3600 or 1800 064 784.

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Exif_JPEG_PICTUREHundreds of people have already received free legal advice from the Rosebud Branch of Peninsula Community Legal Centre, which was officially opened on 12 May 2009 by the Hon. Rob Hulls, Deputy Premier, Attorney-General and Minister for Racing.

Peninsula Community Legal Centre is a non-profit organisation that has been providing free legal services for more than 30 years. With a catchment area that spans six local government areas (including the Mornington Peninsula Shire) – a population of over 800,000 people – the Centre has strived to ensure that its services are accessible. The Centre’s Head Office is in Frankston, with branch offices in the Pines (Frankston North), Bentleigh East, Cranbourne, and now Rosebud. The Centre also offers visiting outreach services and “telephone appointments” for clients who would have difficulty attending an office.

Chief Executive Officer of Peninsula Community Legal Centre, Helen Constas, says:

“Since the doors of our Rosebud Branch opened on 1 December 2009, we have seen a dramatic increase – around 200% – in the number of clients accessing our services. Clients are overwhelmingly in receipt of low income (less than $26,000 per annum) and often come to us at a time of personal crisis, with a cluster of interrelated legal, relationship, health and financial issues.

The Rosebud branch is open two days and one evening per week, offering free legal advice in most areas of law, with ongoing assistance targeted to help those who are disadvantaged and might otherwise “fall through the cracks”. Locals are also able to access the full range of free legal services offered by Peninsula Community Legal Centre, including its Programs in Family Law, Child Support, Tenant and Consumer Advocacy and Family Violence. The Centre also drafts free Wills and Powers of Attorney for pensioners and low income earners.

Community legal education is an important part of the Centre’s work, and the Rosebud branch has already played host to ‘Young Renters Workshops’, with ‘Grandparents Make a Difference: Free Family Law Workshops’ scheduled for Friday 15 May (International Day of Families).”

Peninsula Community Legal Centre has been providing free legal services on the Mornington Peninsula since 1990, since which time it has received financial support from the Mornington Peninsula Shire and its predecessors. Over the past five years, the Centre has received additional financial support from the Shire, the Department of Justice and Victoria Legal Aid to expand services, including fortnightly, then weekly, day and evening appointment sessions.

Speaking at the official opening were the Hon. Rob Hulls, Cr Anne Shaw (Mayor, Mornington Peninsula Shire), Bevan Warner (Managing Director, Victoria Legal Aid), Hugh de Kretser (Executive Officer, Federation of Community Legal Centres Victoria) and Chris Galagher (President of PCLC and Volunteer Lawyer). All praised the work of Peninsula Community Legal Centre, and reiterated the need for free legal services to ensure that justice is accessible for the most vulnerable members of our community.

Coinciding with Law Week and National Volunteer Week, speakers paid tribute to Peninsula Community Legal Centre’s team of 120 active volunteers, thanking them for their contribution to improving the lives of disadvantaged members of our community.

Ms Constas thanked all of the supporters of Peninsula Community Legal Centre, who had made the vision of a Rosebud Branch office a reality, including the Attorney-General, Victoria Legal Aid, Mornington Peninsula Shire, Southern Peninsula Community Support and Information Centre, and the Rotary Club of Rosebud who sponsored the Centre’s community launch, a sausage sizzle held in February 2009.

Peninsula Community Legal Centre’s Rosebud Branch is open 9am to 5pm Mondays and Thursdays, and Tuesday evenings by appointment. The office is located at 1375 Point Nepean Road, Rosebud, telephone 5981 2422.


12 May 2009


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