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Community Legal Centres Australia works to raise awareness of the community legal sector and advocates to government on law reform and the need to the sector so that community legal services can continue to support their communities. Read on for recent media coverage of the community legal sector, and see our Sector stories page to learn more about the challenges and successes of the sector.

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Lawyers are leaving the community legal sector due to low pay, creating an experience gap

ABC News 9/04/24

In New South Wales, the gap between CLC and Legal Aid Commission pay cheques is between 10 and 30 per cent. Due to mandated raises by the Fair Work Commission, som centres needs to find a five per cent wage increase for all of its staff by the start of the next financial year. It's a number that centres will struggle to meet, but will also fall short of what workers should expect.

Photo: Bill Mitchell, Principal Solicitor, Townsville Community Law

Community legal centres at breaking point amid funding and workforce shortfall

ABC News 25/03/24

Australia’s legal assistnce system is on the verge of collapse, with community legal centres turning away more than 1,000 people each day across the country.

The state of the sector report, A secret in crisis, has revealed massive cracks in the legal assistance system in Australia, leaving people vulnerable to unnecessary jail terms, homelessness or being forced to stay in unsafe relationships.

Photo: Tim Leach

Aboriginal legal services say they are being forced to turn people away

ABC News 4/02/24

Wirringa Baiya, like other community legal services, receives funding through the National Legal Assistance Partnership (NLAP) from the federal government and states and territories. CEO Christine Robinson says the funding is not enough and that Wirringa Baiya often relies on grants from philanthropic organisations to stay afloat.

"It takes a lot of time and work trying to get funding. We do not have a dedicated funding or tender writing team to assist in this area,"

A screenshot of the Guardian article on the community legal sector funding crisis

Community legal centres turn away 1,000 Australians each day despite growing need for help

The Guardian 25/03/2024

The sector suffers funding and workforce crisis and warns that people will face unnecessary jail terms, family violence and homelessness as a result

A sector in crisis: community legal centres overwhelmed

Border Mail 25/03/2024

Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, Pilbara Community Legal Service and the broader community legal sector were featured in the Border Mail on the impact of the community legal sector funding crisis on First Nations people and communities.

A woman wearing black leans against a doorway with her arms crossed looking at the camera

Barwon Community Legal Service faces funding crisis, urgently appeals to government for support

Geelong Advertiser 20/03/2024

Barwon Community Legal Service, which helps vulnerable people like family violence victims, says it may be forced to slash staff and offerings.

ICLC logo

Katie Green talking LGBTIQA+ community legal centres

3CR 10/03/2024

Inner City Legal Centre's Katie Green spoke with Sally Goldner on 3CR show Out of the Pan about the campaign for funding for LGBTIQ+ specialist community legal centres.

Michael Smith, CEO of Eastern Community Legal Centre

Thousands turned away from legal support as funding stagnates

Lilydale Star Mail 7/03/24

Eastern Community Legal Centre has been forced to turn away hundreds, if not thousands, of people every year because of a decade of minimal funding increases. CEO Michael Smith says "We’ve just got huge demand across our services. A lot of our work is in family violence. We’re helping women in particular, who are desperate for assistance with legal help for things like intervention orders, sometimes family law and children’s issues. We’re helping people with infringements and local law issues, people with employment issues and a whole range of other things too but we’re having to turn people away because we haven’t got capacity with our staff.”

Jackie Galloway

The Melburnians struggling to stay afloat amid soaring toll fines

ABC Listen 21/02/24

Peninsula Community Legal Centre chief executive Jackie Galloway says her clients are struggling to pay for essentials like food and housing, and cannot afford to pay for soaring road toll fines.

"Our call lines are overcrowded. Our waiting lists are full"

ABC News Radio 9/02/24

Community legal centres help 180 000 people each year, but there are at least another 200 000 people who don’t get help because the sector doesn’t have the resources to respond to their needs…Listen to highlights as CEO Tim Leach discusses the funding challenges of our sector on ABC News Radio.

Unprecedented demand means Australia's community legal centres are having to turn people away

ABC News 8/02/24

Caxton Legal Centre is one of Australia's largest free community legal centres, but it can only help less than one per cent of those who reach out...Mr Brody said more people had been reaching out looking for help with credit, debt, consumer concerns, as well as "tenancy services".

The entrance to Kimberley Community Legal Services

Kimberley Community Legal Services turns away vulnerable clients as funding falls short

ABC News 6/02/2024

Kimberley Community Legal Services has been forced to close its books to new clients due to a lack of staff and resources. Community legal centres nationwide are experiencing overwhelming demand, inadequate funding and dire staff shortages, and there are calls for the federal government to provide $125 million in national funding.

Indigenous women at risk from lack of DV legal funding

AAP 5/02/24

Legal services that help Indigenous women and children with family violence are being forced to turn away clients or even close...Mr Brody believes chronic underfunding over the past decade has pushed many services to the brink of closure and that, without a significant injection of extra support, the Far West CLC won't be the last to close its doors.

An NT landscape after rain; photo credit: David Morris, EDO NT

Legal advocates warn against Peter Dutton's pledge to defund the Environmental Defenders Office

ABC News 1/02/24

Legal advocates warn that federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton's pledge to defund the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) is a "retrograde step" that would ultimately disadvantage everyday Australians..."The EDO does really important work and that work's not going to reduce in volume or frequency — there's going to be an increasing need for that work," Tim Leach said.

Legal assistance services excluded from federal funding deal struggling to survive under massive workloads

ABC News 7/11/23

Many legal assistance services get funding from a $2.4 billion federal government agreement with the states and territories called the National Legal Assistance Partnership (NLAP)...Some legal aid services considered too specialised, such as those for refugees or LGBTIQA+ groups, are excluded from [the] agreement.