Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 August 2017) . . Page.. 2370 ..
MR RAMSAY: I thank Mr Steel for his supplementary question. The CLCs will use the certainty that is provided in this budget to support some of the most vulnerable people in our community. For the first time in its seven years of operation, Street Law will have recurrent funding. Street Law is a service that helps people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to address their legal problems and to get their lives back on track. Prior to this budget, Street Law had only ever been funded one year at a time. But this budget means that Street Law can engage in long-term service planning and give certainty to their clients over the next four years.
Services to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Canberra will be strengthened through this budget. The Women’s Legal Centre will use this funding to grow its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Access to Justice Program. This service focuses on the legal issues, including family and domestic violence, faced by many women in our community.
Canberra Community Law will have recurrent funding to progress its Aboriginal Human Rights Program beyond the seed phase. This is a dedicated program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is a direct response to calls for more culturally appropriate services.
The core funding for the CLCs in this budget means more programs for women, for families and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of the community. It means that the community legal centres can hire ongoing staff and even build up more expertise to keep serving our community over time.
MS ORR: Minister, are you aware of the reactions and response by CLCs regarding the funding?
MR RAMSAY: I thank Ms Orr for the supplementary question. Indeed, as we may expect, the feedback from our community legal centres has been overwhelmingly positive. Following the announcement in this year’s budget, I was invited to tour the local CLC hub to get a first-hand look at what CLCs do, and to hear about their plans for the funding.
The hub is a single location that houses Canberra Community Law, the Women’s Legal Centre, Street Law, and the Tenants Union. The hub makes it easier for people to access the range of services available. It also brings together a community of people who share an enthusiasm for service. It was a privilege to visit the hub and to hear the level of excitement about what the new funding would allow.
This budget empowers the dedicated staff of our CLCs to continue to help people to have a voice in the legal system. CLCs help people to understand the legal process and to ensure that their rights and interests are protected. Our legal system is fairer and better serves the people who most need its protection as a result of the hard work of the CLCs.