Reversal of law centre funding cuts welcomed

The Northern Territory’s four Community Legal Centres have this week welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement that it will reverse the 30 per cent cut to Commonwealth funding that was due on July 1.

The NT CLC’s include the Katherine Women’s Information and Legal Service, Central Australian Women’s Legal Service, Darwin Community Legal Service and the Top End Women’s Legal Service.

Together with Senator Nigel Scullion and Senator Michaelia Cash, the Federal Attorney-General announced the Government will restore the 30 per cent cut and provide an additional $39 million nationally for CLC’s over three years to be directed to family violence services.

The announcement means that NT CLC’s no longer face an immediate dramatic reduction in service delivery that was set to occur from July 1.

The detail is not yet known, and services now await more information on what this would look like and for their clients.

The NT CLC’s describe this announcement as a win as it marks the end of a long period of lobbying Government for the reversal of the cuts.

The NT CLC’s see this reversal as the Government listening to their calls.

However they note there is more work to be done to ensure sustainable and adequate funding for the community legal sector. Moving forward, the NT CLC’s strongly urge both the Federal and Territory Government’s to commit to adequate and sustainable funding to the community legal sector.

The NT CLC’s received support from a wide range of representatives including Senator Nigel Scullion, Northern Territory Attorney-General Natasha Fyles; the Federal Opposition; the NT Law Society; Rosie Batty and the NT legal sector. The NT CLC’s also received much support from local community organisations and individuals throughout the campaign highlighting the value CLC’s bring to communities.

The Northern Territory CLC’s assist vulnerable people with legal problems, such as family law, child protection, domestic violence, housing, victims of crime compensation and other intrinsically linked issues. A reduction in funding was set to have devastating consequences in the NT.