Staff and volunteers of Peninsula Community Legal Centre today welcomed the announcement of additional funding under a Federal Labor government, during a visit by the Honourable Mark Dreyfus QC MP, Australian Shadow Attorney-General and Shadow Minister for the Arts, Member for Isaacs; and Labor Candidate for Dunkley, Peta Murphy.
Chief Executive Officer, Jackie Galloway, said:
“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 people who would otherwise ‘fall through the cracks’. Each year, Peninsula Community Legal Centre helps thousands of such people. Three quarters of our clients earn less than $26,000 gross per year, and more than a quarter report family violence. We commonly assist clients with family law matters, family violence, tenancy, fines, motor vehicle accidents and neighbour problems.
Despite the evidence that community legal centres are effective, efficient and innovative in addressing the legal needs of vulnerable people, and a recommendation of the Productivity Commission in 2014 to urgently increase funding, the Federal Government is persisting with plans to drop funding by 30 percent nationally from 1 July 2017. Locally, that will mean Peninsula Community Legal Centre will lose workers and there will be an unavoidable reduction in free legal help provided to our community.
Today, Mr Dreyfus and Ms Murphy announced that Peninsula Community Legal Centre would receive an additional $450,000 over three years, as part of Labor’s $43 million package for frontline legal services that help family violence survivors. The announcement gives us hope that we may be able to expand and strengthen our free legal services to better meet the legal needs of local people experiencing family violence into the future. ”
Peninsula Community Legal Centre has been providing free legal services since 1977. It operates from offices in Frankston, Bentleigh, Cranbourne, Rosebud and Frankston North and regularly visits Hastings, Mornington 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 consumer, tenant and rooming house issues.
For more information about free legal services, please call (03) 9783 3600 or visit www.pclc.org.au.
16 June 2016
Manager, Volunteers & Education
PENINSULA COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE INC.