Issued: Wednesday, 5 April 2017
The NSW Government will save Community Legal Centres (CLCs) from a funding crisis by providing more than $6 million in additional support over the next two years, Attorney General Mark Speakman announced today during a visit to the Central Coast.
"CLCs do incredible work helping disadvantaged people with legal problems and the NSW Government's action will secure their services for the future following the non-renewal of a federal funding program," said Mr Speakman.
"This is a major win for vulnerable and disadvantaged people across the state who rely on CLC lawyers for free advice on critical issues in both the civil and criminal sphere, ranging from domestic violence and victims' support to debts and tenancy disputes."
"The NSW Government is stepping in to secure the immediate future of CLCs, while continuing to work towards a sustainable long-term solution." said Mr Speakman.
The CEO of the NSW Council of Social Service, Tracy Howe, said, "Many CLCs across the state faced staff cuts and service reductions following a federal government decision not to renew its grants program which ends on 30 June. We're so pleased the NSW Government has stepped up to the plate."
Community Legal Centres NSW Chair Linda Tucker said, "This funding will allow some of the most disadvantaged people and communities in NSW to retain access to the kind of legal assistance that can be life changing. CLCs ensure everyday problems don't become major health, financial or justice issues."
CLCs provide free legal help to 55,000 people each year at more than 30 locations in metropolitan, regional and rural NSW.
The NSW Government's funding injection is in addition to the $6.4 million it has already committed to CLCs in 2016-17. The NSW Government has increased its core funding to CLCs every year since 2011.