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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 23 March 2017) . . Page.. 969 ..

Community legal centres

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (11.05): I seek leave to amend my motion on community legal centres as published in the notice paper by omitting clause 1(f).

Leave granted.


That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) the important role that community legal centres have within our justice system, by providing crucial advice and representation to vulnerable members of our community;

(b) that community legal centres are facing a funding cliff on 1 July 2017, with a cut of 30 percent of funding from the Federal Government, and that this cut will drastically impact on the crucial legal services provided to vulnerable and disadvantaged people provided by community legal centres;

(c) that community legal centres have already been severely impacted by cuts to funding from the Federal Government, including the complete loss of funding to Environmental Defenders Offices, and such cuts will only lead to an increased burden on our legal system, leading to increased costs;

(d) the Productivity Commission recommended in its 2014 Access to Justice Arrangements report that funding to community legal centres be increased by $200 million each year from both Federal and State and Territory Governments;

(e) that all levels of Government have a role in providing adequate resources to community legal centres, recognising the valuable services they provide to our community and the efficient and effective operation of our legal system; and

(2) calls on the:

(a) Federal Government to reverse planned cuts to community legal centres to come into effect on 1 July 2017 and provide adequate funding to community legal centres; and

(b) Speaker to write to the Federal Attorney-General communicating this motion.

Community legal centres play a really important role in our community, and they have been desperately calling out for more funding as demand for their services continues to grow and the centres struggle to support their clients with the insufficient resources available to them.

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