The Australian Human Rights Commission welcomes federal government funding for community legal centres.
“Community legal centres are vital in protecting the basic human rights of disadvantaged people in Australia.
“I am very pleased that Attorney-General George Brandis has announced that the Federal Government will continue to support the community legal assistance sector.
“By reversing proposed cuts to community legal centre funding, the Federal Government is making an important, practical commitment to human rights,” Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow said.
In a statement, the Federal Government said it would invest an additional $55.7 million in the sector over the next three years. It said it would direct $39 million to Community Legal Centres for the priority areas of family and family violence services and an additional $16.7 million to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services.
Combined with existing funding under the National Partnership Agreement to 2020, the Commonwealth calculates its investment in Legal Aid Commissions, Community Legal Centres and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services totals $1.73 billion.
The National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) was expecting a 30 per cent cut to Commonwealth funding from 1 July 2017.
Over recent months, the peak national body for community legal centres in Australia had urged the Federal Government to reverse budget cuts planned for the sector.
There are around 200 community legal centres in metropolitan, regional, rural and remote locations across Australia. The not-for-profit centres operate independently, providing free legal services to disadvantaged and marginalised people in the community.
Media contact: Dominic O’Grady for Commissioner Santow. M: 0419 258 597. E: firstname.lastname@example.org