April 21, 2021 |
On Tuesday April 20, the Federation of Community Legal Centres hosted the launch event A Just Future: A 10-Year Plan for Community Legal Centres in Victoria.
The 10-Year Plan is a consultation process for Victoria’s CLC sector, designed to explore the trends that are likely to impact the CLC sector over the next decade, and to ensure CLCs can to meet the ongoing and emerging needs of their communities.
The launch event was held online, and was free for all staff and volunteers in the CLC sector to attend. The event was hosted by Federation CEO Serina McDuff, who contextualised the work of CLCs and the importance of a 10-Year Plan for the sector to brace for future challenges and opportunities.
Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes MP acknowledged CLCs as “heroes” and “rock stars” of the justice system, outlining that from her perspective, “it couldn’t be a more appropriate time to come together to look at what the next ten years means for the sector, and where your collective efforts should lay to deliver the largest impact in the long term.”
Symes noted the existing contributions of the sector, reflecting that “the ability of CLCs to continue to meet the needs of vulnerable Victorians has been astounding – you should be proud of yourselves.”
The Attorney-General underscored the importance of acting in collaboration and not in competition with one another in the CLC sector. Symes also discussed crucial innovation by way of collaboration through shared technology and sector-wide communications, as well as a personal desire to see more support and incentive for community lawyers working in regional and remote areas.
CEO of VCOSS, Emma King, elaborated on the importance of building a plan for the future, using her participation in the 10-Year Plan Community Services Industry Plan as a frame of reference. “Co-design,” said King, “and very meaningful consultation, were fundamental to the success of developing the plan.”
King spoke to the challenges faced in the Industry planning process, offering valuable insights as to how the CLC sector can work effectively in designing our own 10-Year Plan. One area of focus was the problems around gender imbalance in the community services workforce that extends into the CLC sector.
“We can’t have a casualised and precarious workforce… it’s a significant issue we need to address, and we need to address it collectively.”
Former Deputy Secretary at the Department of Justice and Community Safety, Anna Faithfull, echoed the importance of the 10-Year Plan for CLCs. “It’s got such longevity and such sustainability inherent in the work itself.” Now working in consultancy around future technologies, she helped to inform the CLC sector on the complex definitions of justice in this space.
Faithfull acknowledged the innovation and integration of technology into services offered by Justice Connect, transforming access to CLC services. She also underscored the work of VALS in data sovereignty and collection. “In so many ways,” said Faithfull, “the sector is already embracing and working out what role [future technologies] will play.”
The Federation wishes again to thank all guest speakers for their valuable contributions and support for the 10-Year Plan for CLCs.