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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 June 2021) . . Page.. 1627 ..


capacity by 20 per cent. This equates to 170 of some of the most vulnerable Canberrans in our community going without the vital legal services that they need.

I bring this motion today because it is my duty to stand up for and be a voice for some of the most vulnerable members of our community and those Canberrans who rely on the services and support that CCL provide. These are the Canberrans that, without the services provided by CCL, will be denied access to justice, will be denied basic but vital legal advice and representation. This vitally important organisation must get certainty of funding going forward from the ACT government as soon as possible, so that they can keep providing these free and vital services to the most vulnerable members of our community.

There is a budget submission before the government right now and I urge the Attorney-General, I urge this government, to provide Canberra Community Law with funding certainty within the next seven days. Canberra Community Law needs this. Some of the most vulnerable members of our Canberra community need this. The ACT government can provide this certainty. I urge the government to provide it as soon as possible. I commend my motion to the Assembly and urge all members of the chamber to support it.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (4.03): I thank Ms Lee for bringing this motion today on a matter about which I am quite passionate. The motion reflects the important work done by Canberra Community Law in helping some of the most vulnerable Canberrans and notes that, for those services to continue, they need adequate funding.

Canberra’s legal assistance sector is actually composed of the Legal Aid Commission and a variety of community legal centres, which include Canberra Community Law. I am really aware of the funding pressures that the CLCs are currently facing, and over the past several months I have been meeting with their leaders, hearing loud and clear about how adequate resourcing is necessary to do their incredible work for people sorely in need.

The ACT Greens have long been supporters of our community legal centres, having secured commitments through the past several parliamentary agreements to improve and expand upon them. We fundamentally believe that these services provide a real gap filler between those that can access legal aid and those that can afford private legal support.

In this Assembly the Greens have committed to ensuring well-funded community legal centres. In the parliamentary agreement for the Eighth Assembly we secured an agreement for increased funding to the Aboriginal Legal Service, and in the Seventh Assembly we secured a commitment to establish a free legal service for homeless people. That service is today known as Street Law, within Canberra Community Law. That did not exist until the Greens brought that policy forward in 2008. In that Seventh Assembly we also campaigned to bring about the community legal centre hub, and that building now stands on Barry Drive and is the home for a number of these


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