Community Legal Centres provide a crucial safety net for people in our community who need it most.
Many Victorians rely on community legal services and support in critical aspects of their daily lives, including family breakdown and violence, crippling debts and fines, eviction and homelessness, incarceration, discrimination, exploitation at work and unfair dismissal. Our sector supports those most in need of assistance, who cannot afford private lawyers and do not have access to legal aid.
The high demand for legal assistance continues to significantly outstrip available resources. Without additional resourcing, thousands of people will not be able to get the support they need from Community Legal Centres.
The impacts of unresolved, escalating legal problems on individuals, their communities and government are significant, but can be avoided through ensuring access to community legal assistance.
OUR KEY ASKS
- An additional boost of funding over four years to strengthen the security of community legal sector funding in Victoria, and to enable the community legal sector to expand to meet increasing demand.
- Adequate indexation that matches increases to national award wages (4.6 per cent in 2022-23) in funding contracts to Community Legal Centres, including a policy that ensures the community legal sector receives indexation at the same rate as other community services.
- Funding to continue to enhance the community legal sector’s ability to measure impact and ensure Victorians are getting the best possible access to legal services.
Mental health reforms
- Investment to embed community legal help in the roll-out of the Local Adult and Older Adult Mental Health and Wellbeing Services over four years.
- An additional boost of funding over four years to increase the capacity of Community Legal Centres to provide legal assistance to victim survivors of family violence, particularly given high family violence demand at Magistrates’ Courts across Victoria.
- Additional resourcing for legal services to provide legal assistance at the new Specialist Family Violence Courts.
- Ongoing funding for the Early Resolution Service/Pre-Court Engagement model at Magistrates’ Courts in Victoria.
- Continuation of the lapsing funding under the Community Legal Centre Family Violence and Assistance Fund at the same level over four years.
- Additional investment to expand the legal services in the Orange Door pilot to ensure it can occur in both regional and metropolitan locations, and embed community legal services in the Orange Door network.
You can read our public budget submission here.