“Every single day Community Legal Centres (CLCs) across Australia see women and children struggling to deal with family violence and the legal problems caused by family violence. Almost 40% of CLCs offer specialist family violence-related services,” said Rosslyn Monro, NACLC Chairperson.
“We welcome the Federal Government’s commitment to addressing family violence, and its provision of some pilot funding to 10 CLCs as part of the Women’s Safety Package. The funding recognises the crucial role CLCs play in a holistic response to family violence,” said Ms Monro. “However, CLCs face a 30% cut to their funding nationally from 2017 under the new National Partnership Agreement for Legal Assistance Services. These cuts dwarf the small amount of funding provided under the Women’s Safety Package, and there are dozens of CLCs currently providing legal services to women who may face closure from 1 July 2017.”
The NACLC, which is the peak body for Community Legal Centres (CLCs) in Australia, has made a submission to the Australian Government to inform priorities and decisions with respect to the 2016-2017 Federal Budget.
In their submission, the NACLC is calling on the Federal Government to reverse the national funding cuts to CLCs under the National Partnership Agreement (amounting to $34.83 million between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2020). Plus an immediate injection of $120 million per year into the legal assistance sector, consistent with the recommendation made by the Productivity Commission, including at a minimum $14.4 million per year to CLCs.
The Australian Government needs to commit to developing a process for determining sustainable long-term funding contributions to the legal assistance sector and provide additional funding for other legal assistance services, including Family Violence Prevention Legal Services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and Legal Aid Commissions.
For more information visit the website www.naclc.org.au