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On the Record - The e-bulletin Issue #13 December 2010


On the Record – The e-bulletin


Community Legal Centres: Community, Compassion, Justice
Issue #13 December 2010


This is the thirteenth edition of On the Record, the quarterly e-bulletin of Community Legal Centres NSW Inc. (CLCNSW).  CLCNSW is the peak representative body for Community Legal Centres (CLCs) in NSW.  CLCs are independent community organisations providing equitable and accessible legal services.  To find out more about CLCs in NSW visit www.clcnsw.org.au

For more information about On the Record, or any of the events happening in community legal centres, contact Alastair McEwin, CLCNSW Director, Alastair_McEwin@clc.net.au or phone (02) 9212 7333.

If you do not wish to receive future issues of On the Record, please follow the instructions to unsubscribe below.  If you know others who may wish to receive the e-bulletin, feel free to forward this email, and they will be able to subscribe themselves to our list with the link below.  Or you can subscribe by filling out the form on our website.  You can also change which email address the e-bulletin goes to, and update other details, by following the links at the bottom of the email. 

Contents:

1. Community Legal Sector News

New community legal centre for the Mid North Coast

ACOSS Community Sector Survey

ASU Equal Pay case

2. Community Law

Privacy of health records

Educating people about wills, power of attorney and guardianship in Campbelltown and surrounds

Changes to the Illawarra & South Coast Tenants Service

The Family Law Focussed Clinical Education Program (FLFCEP)

ICLC: working towards better understanding the legal needs of GLBTI people in NSW

Human Rights Consolidation Project

TARS: new staff and recent CLE activities

Educating the community about sniffer dogs at public entertainment events

Legal Information day at Yarra Bay

Hume Riverina CLS: staff changes and current projects

Housing NSW pursuing alleged debts from tenants

3. Publications

LawAssist: new resources on Motor Vehicle Accidents

Work & Development Order: useful tips

Youth Justice: Your Guide to cops and court in NSW

Real Deal Youth Justice Playing Cards

Youth Diary

Rough Living: exploring the links between trauma and homelessness

Understanding Money Matters

4. Events and developments

Kingsford LC shortlisted for 2010 Human Rights Awards

Oh What A Night! Inner City Legal Centre celebrates 30 years

Illawarra Legal Centre celebrates 25 years of operation

2010 Justice awards

Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

5. What are Community Legal Centres and what is CLCNSW?

 

1. Community Legal Sector News

New community legal centre for the Mid North Coast

Disability Advocacy NSW has been successful in the tender to establish a new CLC for the Mid North Coast.  This was announced jointly on 3 December 2010 by the Federal Attorney-General, the Hon Robert McClelland MP, and the NSW Attorney General, the Hon John Hatzistergos MLC.  The Commonwealth Government allocated $600,000 over three years and Legal Aid NSW has allocated a further $330,000 over three years for the new service.

Mr McClelland said Disability Advocacy NSW is well placed to enhance access to justice for the region.  He stated that the “new service will play a key role in ensuring disadvantaged residents of the region have greater access to legal assistance to encourage early resolution of disputes before they escalate.  The new centre will significantly improve access to legal services for the Mid-North Coast, providing assistance on a range of legal and related matters to people on low incomes and those with special needs.”

Mr Hatzistergos said the funding was consistent with the findings of a February 2010 Mid-North Coast Legal Needs Analysis Report.  “It is well known that many rural and regional centres are requiring more resources to meet the legal demands of their communities,” he said.

The new CLC is expected to be operational in the first half of 2011, based in Port Macquarie with outreach services to Taree and Kempsey.

Further information: Ryan Liddell (McClelland) 0427 225 763; Maria Iannotti (Hatzistergos) 0419 507 123

ACOSS Community Sector Survey

The Australian Community Sector Survey is the only annual national survey collecting data about the community services and welfare sector. The survey provides an important snapshot of how disadvantaged Australians are faring, and is a powerful means of highlighting to government and media the issues facing community services.

The survey should be completed by non-government, non-profit organisations providing services directly to the public.  Questions are designed to gain an insight into the key issues facing service providers, including workforce matters, levels of funding, and areas of growing or unmet service demand.

Reports from previous annual surveys have received extensive media coverage, informing community sector advocacy at both state and territory levels.  Findings have supported campaigns to improve levels of pay within the sector, and to highlight key sector issues such as inadequacies in levels of funding.

To ensure the survey provides an accurate and comprehensive snapshot of issues, it is vital ACOSS receives a high response rate from community sector organisations.  CLCNSW encourages member Centres to take the time to participate in this survey and contribute to an important body of knowledge.  The survey closes 5:00pm Friday 17 December 2010.

To complete the survey: www.acoss.org.au/communitysectorsurvey

ASU Equal Pay case

The ASU's Equal Pay Case is the most important case for the rights of women to equal pay in over 20 years.  The case is about justice and equal rights for not only social and community services workers but women and workers generally in Australia.  The ASU has called on its members, employers, supporters and members of the community to support their Equal Pay case and to send a clear message that community sector workers can no longer be undervalued and it is time for equal pay.

On 15 December 2010, the ASU held rallies around Australia, including Sydney and Lismore.  CLCNSW staff, along with a number of CLCs, attended these rallies.  The Board of CLCNSW has joined the ACOSS Fair Pay campaign and noted its support for the ASU rallies on 15 December.

Further information: www.asu.asn.au/sacs/payup.html

2.       Community law

Privacy of health records

Redfern Legal Centre achieved an outcome for a client in a privacy matter under the Health Records and Information Protection Act in the ADT.  The matter arose from a medical adviser providing information (without subpoena) about her diagnosis and treatment.  The information was provided to the defendant in an AVO where the RLC client was the person in need of protection.  The client was both upset about this on the occasion but also felt she could not return for further treatment and her health suffered.  As the matter was settled RLC is unable to provide any further detail for On The Record but is happy to share any procedural or other lessons learned.

Further information: Elizabeth Morley, Principal Solicitor, elizabeth@rlc.org.au

Educating people about wills, power of attorney and guardianship in Campbelltown and surrounds

Carers living in the Campbelltown, Wollondilly and Wingecarribee Local Government Areas have received important legal information on wills, powers of attorney and guardianship.  In conjunction with Macarthur Disability Services and Sydney South West Area Health Service, Macarthur LC provided approximately 10 sessions in various venues in the Macarthur region, from Ingleburn in the north to Tahmoor in the south, as well as into the Southern Highlands in Mittagong and Bowral.  The sessions lasted for about 60 - 90 minutes and focussed on the importance of the three documents, especially dealing with the issue of capacity.  The sessions reached over 300 people.

The project was important because it brought different agencies together and enabled those who attended the sessions to ask questions of all three agencies.  Those who attended the sessions indicated through surveys a high level of satisfaction with the program.  Comments included:

·      "I will act now at gaining guardianship.”

·      "Macarthur Legal Centre obviously already offers an excellent service.”

·      "Keep communication open and flowing as you have done tonight and thank you for the opportunity to learn more useful information.”

Macarthur LC intends to run the same sessions in 2011.

Further information: Prue Gregory, Macarthur LC, prue_gregory@clc.net.au

Changes to the Illawarra & South Coast Tenants Service

Illawarra & South Coast Tenants Service will be extending the far south coast outreach project until 30 June 2011.  The service has been operating in Bega and Batemans Bay since February 2010 and has provided direct assistance to 258 tenants and park residents in the first nine months.  Over 60 tenants and park residents were also assisted at the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal during the same period.

The Service will also be commencing a new outreach service next year targeting local Aboriginal tenants.  Discussion has already taken place with Murra Mia Tenants Service and a referral protocol will be put in place prior to commencement of the service.  The location will be in the outreach office of the Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation in Warilla.  A number of other organisations will also be conducting outreach, providing the community with a range of services in one place.

The Tenants Service will be operating on Thursday mornings 10 - 12 and will start on Thursday 20 January 2011.

Further information: Julie Lee, Coordinator, Julie_lee@clc.net.au

The Family Law Focussed Clinical Education Program (FLFCEP)

The FLFCEP is a partnership between Hume Riverina Community Legal Service (HRCLS) and Charles Darwin University (CDU).  The clinical education program became a reality when the Federal AG Department agreed to the partnership proposal submitted by HRCLS and CDU.

The program allowed for groups of four students to attend at HRCLS for a two-week period, to participate in the clinical education program under the supervision of a HRCLS Family Lawyer.  The program was established to commence on 5 July 2010 and run through until 17 December 2010, with a maximum of 32 students attending.  While the primary role was to allow the students to engage in clinical education with a family law focus, the flow-on benefits for the HRCLS was to expose students to the work completed by the CLC sector and also to bring students into their RRR area, always with the view of providing a taste of ‘CLC and RRR’ work life for lawyers.

The program hit the ground running on Monday 5 July, with the first group of students arriving on HRCLS’s doorstep.  The students quickly settled into the clinical program, taking instructions from clients at the Supervised Student Advice Clinic [SSAC], attending at Wodonga Magistrates Court, managing emotional and distressed clients and drafting court documents and letters as part of ongoing casework.  Our ‘students in residence’ were exposed to a range of Family Law issues such as applications for name changes and paternity testing, applications for ‘live with’ and ‘spend time with’ court orders, advice on relocation, child support, family violence, health, safety and welfare of children, issues around the intersection of child protection and family law and the division of matrimonial/de facto assets.

While the students were in residence, they were also afforded the opportunity to attend and/or participate in professional development activities, such as the Law Institute of Victoria’s North Eastern Law Association Conference 2010 at Beechworth.  And it was not all work and no play: the students contributed significantly to the local economy by dining out regularly, hitting the snow, visiting local historical sites and enjoying the local wines and foods with zest.

Further information: Karen Bowley, kbowley@umfc.com.au

ICLC: working towards better understanding the legal needs of GLBTI people in NSW

The Inner City Legal Centre is a specialised legal centre that provides advice and representation to people who are gay, lesbian or bisexual; people who are transgender; and people who are intersex (GLBTI) and living in New South Wales.  In the 30 years it has been serving the community, ICLC has advised on a wide array of legal and social issues.  The people who seek our services come from as near as Kings Cross but also as far as Albury, Dubbo and the Tweed region.

Currently, there is no data relating to the legal needs of GLBTI people in NSW. The purpose of the Legal Needs Assessment project is to fill that gap, that is, to find out what legal needs are present across NSW, and if there are appropriate services addressing those needs.  This will be achieved by a written survey, which will be distributed to the GLBTI communities through as many avenues as possible.

ICLC is in the formative stages of developing the survey, which will be followed up with phone interviews where respondents are happy to become a little more involved.  ICLC is also hoping to hold at least one or two consultations in regional NSW working alongside local CLCs, GLBTI organisations and individual members of the GLBTI communities.

ICLC sees consulting directly with communities across NSW as an integral part of developing specialised legal resources, information and services relevant to the GLTBI communities outside of the Sydney metropolitan area.

The Inner City Legal Centre is asking for the support of other CLCs around New South Wales to assist it in connecting with your local GLBTI communities. They are also interested to hear about your experiences with GLBTI legal issues and how you feel positioned to give specialised advice in these areas of law.

Further information: Inner City Legal Centre, (02) 9332 1966, alana@iclc.org.au

Human Rights Consolidation Project

KLC has been busy with news that the federal Government is looking to consolidate existing federal anti-discrimination law into one Act.  KLC sees this as an important opportunity to improve human rights protection in Australia and improve the way the law works.  Unfortunately, federal discrimination law does not protect many people from discrimination and KLC knows from its own case work that litigating in federal matters can be difficult and potentially very costly!  KLC is working with other community legal centres across Australia to provide input to the Government on how federal discrimination law could be improved.

Further information: Anna Cody, Director, acody@unsw.edu.au

TARS: new staff and recent CLE activities

In 2011, The Aged-care Rights Service (TARS), including the Older Persons' Legal Service (OPLS), will begin the year with changes to its staff.  Russell Westacott will replace Janna Taylor as the new CEO, and Tom Cowen will be Principal Solicitor.  In addition, following a review of the demand for legal services for older people, OPLS received increased funding and was able to employ another solicitor.  Further funding was also provided to employ a part time solicitor to assist the very busy Retirement Village solicitor.

OPLS, in partnership with Kingsford Legal Centre, conducted community legal education sessions, including a recent session to group of older Spanish-speaking people, with the use of an interpreter, in relation to planning ahead.  In November, Margaret Small, solicitor, did a presentation at the 43rd Australian Association of Gerontologists in Hobart on the financial abuse of older people and the need to recognise theft and fraud perpetrated against them as a criminal offence.

In 2011 TARS will celebrate its 25th year, as a centre providing assistance to older people.

Further information: Margaret Small, Solicitor, msmall@tars.com.au

Educating the community about sniffer dogs at public entertainment events

On 20 November 2010, Redfern Legal Centre was invited to provide community legal education about sniffer dogs at the Harbourlife Concert.  The event management became aware that the Police intended to arrive with more dogs and handlers than usual, and a news crew.  Employed and volunteer staff attended and handed out leaflets to people attending the event.

RLC staff were somewhat bemused by the wall of blue with sniffing dogs that concert goers had to pass through to enter the event.   There were more dogs and police with them than would usually be allocated to a much larger event than the 4,000 people attending this one.  This is not what we want our summer entertainment events to become.  RLC is still considering what to draw from the event and the actions of the dogs, police, the news team and the public.  RLC thanks DLA Phillips Fox for their assistance in the publishing of the pamphlets.       

Further information: Elizabeth Morley, Principal Solicitor, elizabeth@rlc.org.au

Legal Information day at Yarra Bay

KLC organised a very successful legal information day for young people at Yarra Bay in November.  The day was organised in conjunction with La Pa Bummers Youth Haven with a lot of ground-work being done by KLC’s Aboriginal Access Worker, Ron Timbery.  The event was attended by young Indigenous people between the ages of 13 and 16, as well as a local Youth Worker.  The day focussed on issues such as a young person's rights when dealing with Police and the courts, and where young people can go to for assistance.  Information was provided by three fantastic guest speakers, Mark Patrick from Marrickville Legal Centre, Ruth Chalmers from the Aboriginal Legal Service and Gary Stewart from the Attorney General's Department.

Further information: Ron Timbery, Aboriginal Access Worker, ron_timbery@clc.net.au

Hume Riverina CLS: staff changes and current projects

As of 10 January 2011, HRCLS will have a new principal lawyer, Karen Keegan.  Karen has been a lawyer with HRCLS for about 2 years; prior to that she has worked at ALS and also in private practice in family and criminal law.  Karen has also had a stint as Manager of the Wodonga FRC.  Currently Karen is the supervising solicitor of the HRCLS family law focussed clinical education project.

HRCLS has also been successful in receiving 2 grants of funding: one of $4,400 from Victorian Law Foundation for migration training and $50,000 for a Strongwill project from the Legal Services Board.

The Strongwill project seeks to supplement traditional options of a 'do it yourself' will kit and the full service from a lawyer, due to the fact that these modes appear to have a low uptake.  NSW Trustee estimates that 40% of Australians don't have wills.  The project seeks to develop an interactive website which will use gaming technology to guide players through the decisions necessary to develop 'life planning' instruments (Wills, Powers of Attorney, Guardianship).  It uses images to guide users through the game to print out either information to instruct a lawyer or a simple will or power of attorney or enduring guardianship.

Further information: Karen Bowley, kbowley@umfc.com.au

Housing NSW pursuing alleged debts from tenants

The Inner Sydney Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Service, based at Redfern LC, made a complaint to the NSW Ombudsman about Housing NSW’s “vacated debt project”.  Housing NSW sent out letters of demand to tenants who had an alleged debt from a previous tenancy.  These letters were followed up with threats of eviction unless the tenants started paying these “debts”.  No particulars were given in the letters and when tenants contacted their client service officers (CSOs), many CSOs couldn’t tell tenants when and how these alleged debts had been incurred.

As a result of the complaint Housing NSW has agreed to the following:

·      All CSOs are instructed to give particulars to tenants about alleged debts;

·      CSOs are authorised to write off any debts older than 6 years up to $10,000;

·      Any debt older than 6 years and over $10,000 will be referred to the General Manager to authorise it to be written off; and

·      Future letters of demand will give the particulars of the alleged debt, as well as information on how tenants may contest it.  

Further information: Phoenix Van Dyke, 9698 7277

3.       Publications

LawAssist: new resources on Motor Vehicle Accidents

Resources for people representing themselves in motor vehicle property damage claims have been added to the LawAssist website.  There is information about what to do after a car accident (such as reporting to police, exchanging details and getting repair quotes), dealing with insurance companies, as well as issues around fault and liability.  There are also instructions for completing court forms, as well as sample forms and witness statements.

The LawAssist website also includes information for creditors and debtors in small claims matters and will be launching material in relation to apprehended violence orders next year.

LawAssist is a service of LawAccess NSW: www.lawaccess.nsw.gov.au/lawassist

Further information: Rita Bhattacharya, 8833 3104, Rita_Bhattacharya@agd.nsw.gov.au

Work & Development Order: useful tips

The Illawarra Legal Centre Children’s Court Assistance Scheme (CCAS) has followed up the success of its Young People and Fines – Work and Development Orders – Frequently Asked Questions brochure with a new publication.

How to Get a Work and Development Order (WDO) – Useful Tips for Workers Assisting Their Clients to Get a WDOis a collaboration with the Youth Justice Coalition (YJC) and answers the questions that arise when you are assisting your client and want to know more about young people and court fines or what is needed when a young person has little official documentation to support their WDO application.

These are just two examples of the twenty-nine questions that are answered to help workers assist their clients successfully apply for a WDO.

Further information:

Sharon Callaghan, 4276 1939, sharon_callaghan@clc.net.au

Youth Justice Coalition, 9559 2899

Youth Justice: Your Guide to cops and court in NSW

Macquarie Legal Centre’s Youth Justice: Your Guide to Cops and Courts in NSW provides a practical guide for young people who come into contact with the police or criminal justice system in NSW.  Presented in a clear and jargon–free style, the book covers a broad range of topics including police interviews, police searches, the Young Offenders Act and youth justice conferences, bail, court processes, court outcomes, AVOs and dealing with unpaid fines.  Aside from helping young people understand their rights, this book is an essential resource for youth workers, youth advocates, social workers, counsellors, teachers and anyone else who works to support young people.

Now in its fourth edition, the book contains updated information on topics covered in previous editions.  It also has a lot of new material including a comprehensive update on police powers, information about schemes such as Youth Conduct Orders and Work and Development Orders and new chapters on public transport and traffic law and for youth workers about supporting young people through the legal process.

It was released on 10 December and is available directly from Federation Press: www.federationpress.com.au

Further information: Leta Webb, Youth Legal Educator, 8833 0994, Leta_Webb@clc.net.au

Real Deal Youth Justice Playing Cards

On 18 November 2010, Macquarie Legal Centre launched a new edition of the Real Deal Youth Justice Playing Cards.  The full deck of playing cards can be used for any card game that can be played with an ordinary deck of cards.  However each card contains a legal tip – legal information that covers a wide range of topics relevant to 16-24 year olds to assist them to understand legal consequences of their actions and their rights and responsibilities.  Tips cover interactions with police, what to do if arrested, driving and traffic matters, drugs, fights, trespassing, dealing with landlords, entering into contracts, cyberbullying, consumer credit, dealing with debt and fines.  Some cards provide information about legal and other services for this age group. Young people learn by reading the tips and by discussing them with other players.

This edition is funded by the Law and Justice Foundation, which also provided funding for evaluating the effectiveness of the cards as a way of providing legal information to young people.  The cards are supplied to schools, legal centres, schools, youth centres and juvenile justice centres. A condition of sale is that organisations that purchase cards participate in the evaluation and agree to complete, collect and supply information required for conduct of the evaluation.

Further information: Leta Webb, Youth Legal Educator, 8833 0994, Leta_Webb@clc.net.au

Youth Diary

Shoalcoast Community Legal Centre has recently launched the Shoalhaven & South Coast Youth Diary 2011, with the Diary being distributed to 22 High Schools, 4 TAFE Colleges, 7 Libraries and 10 Youth Services within the Shoalcoast Region (Nowra to Eden).

Requests for CLEs within the schools have been strong and to date 5 CLE sessions have been presented by the Centre with more to follow in the early New Year.  The Diary is a handy reference for students especially from year 8 through to Year 12 and each month of the calendar year is dedicated to a particular legal topic relevant to the age group.  Teachers are also finding the Diary a useful reference tool and have commented upon its attractive and relevant layout as a reason why a high percentage of students retain and use the diary.

With the expansion of the Outreach facilities the Centre will be providing in 2011 (Bombala, Cooma and Queanbeyan) more copies will be printed for the 2012 edition.

Further information: Barry Penfold or Kerry Wright, Shoalcoast LC, (02) 4422 9529

Rough Living: exploring the links between trauma and homelessness

The links between homelessness and trauma are explored in a new report launched by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) on 15 December 2010 in Sydney.

Last year, PIAC commissioned a social researcher from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Dr Catherine Robinson, to research the experiences of violence among people who are rough sleeping.  Dr Robinson's report is titled Rough Living: Surviving violence and homelessness.  It adopts a 'life-history' approach, using interviews with 12 individuals currently sleeping rough in the Sydney region.  The interviewees speak about their experiences of violence prior to and during their periods of homelessness.

During the course of the research, the enduring impacts of childhood abuse and trauma became apparent.  The report found considerable links between homelessness, child-abuse and trauma.  These findings are confirmed by other research that reveals extremely high rates of childhood sexual, emotional and physical abuse experienced by those who become homeless.

In response to Rough Living, PIAC, through the Homeless Persons’ Legal Service*, has formed a working party to specifically address the lack of knowledge about trauma and trauma-informed service delivery.  It is hoped that the outcome of this work will be that people who are homeless and experience trauma will receive acknowledgment and services that suit their particular needs.

*HPLS is a joint initiative of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the Public Interest Law Clearing House.

Further information: Chris Hartley, Homeless Persons’ Legal Service Policy Officer, chartley@piac.asn.au

Understanding Money Matters

The report of Redfern Legal Centre’s credit and debt project for culturally and linguistically diverse communities, Understanding Money Matters (available on RLC’s website www.rlc.org.au), launched by the Deputy Premier, Carmel Tebbutt in October this year, has been generally well received and RLC is pleased to see that it is assisting in raising the understanding of what is needed to address unmet legal need in those communities.  At the launch of the report the Deputy Premier noted the needs of the community in accessing legal information and the best practice established by the project and recommended in the report.  On 24 November Clover Moore asked questions in Parliament as to what assessment the Government had made of the outcomes of the project and what action the Government is taking in response.  RLC has also met with a Credit Outreach Educator from ASIC with a view to incorporating the experience from the project into their current work.  In addition RLC was invited to do a session with the Voice of Assyria radio on debt and credit problems, how to avoid them and where to get help.

Further information: Elizabeth Morley, Principal Solicitor, elizabeth@rlc.org.au

4.       Events and developments

Kingsford LC shortlisted for 2010 Human Rights Awards

Kingsford Legal Centre was shortlisted in the Law Category for the 2010 Human Rights Award, presented annually by the Australian Human Rights Commission.  They were shortlisted alongside Debbie Kilroy, Debbie Mortimer SC, Northern Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) and Professor Patrick Keyzer, which was a great honour.  The very worthy winner was NAAJA.

Further information: Anna Cody, Director, acody@unsw.edu.au

Oh What A Night! Inner City Legal Centre celebrates 30 years

At its 30th birthday on 19 October the Inner City Legal Centre (ICLC) celebrated in style at the Slide Lounge in Oxford Street.  Around 150 ICLC supporters celebrated the event with the staff and board of ICLC.  As other CLCs have been fortunate enough to attract some of the best and brightest from ICLC over the years there were quite a few CLCs represented there. 

A wonderfully warm and personal speech by former High Court Justice Michael Kirby was followed by a spectacular trapeze performance by TuTu Tricky.  Then there was that amazing cake with the judge’s gavel, a drag queen and the ICLC logo.  The music was provided by the excellent jazz trio put together by Rosslyn Mayne, ICLC Principal Solicitor - every Community Legal Centre needs an accomplished double bass player!

The great significance of this event was to have those who have been and are now involved in ICLC recognise they are part of something much bigger and an organisation that does crucial work for its community.  Many of the Centre’s supporters now understand that without ICLC and their efforts serious injustices would go unquestioned, discriminatory laws would remain and marginalised people would not have access to an expert legal advice service.

How better to promote that ICLC's people are part of something big and important than to have the Honourable Michael Kirby as the guest speaker.  Mr Kirby spoke about a range of issues close to his own and ICLC's heart, from the time when he met his partner Johan, to the progress that has been made on equality under the law for GLBTI communities.  Mr Kirby went on to say that 30 is quite young which is fortunate as there is still much to be done in this area.  He lauded ICLC for providing an integrated legal service for both GLBTI communities in New South Wales and anyone experiencing disadvantage in the inner city. He made the crucial point that, gay or straight, we need to stand up together.

Over its 30 years ICLC has made a difference in many ways.  It was important to stop and celebrate the important work and people in a way that befits ICLC.

Further information: Dan Stubbs, Centre Director, dan@iclc.org.au

Illawarra Legal Centre celebrates 25 years of operation

A gathering of more than 60 people, including staff, management committee past and present, friends and community representatives helped celebrate the Illawarra Legal Centre's twenty-fifth anniversary on Thursday 2 December 2010.  To mark the anniversary there was an unveiling of Kevin Butler's award-winning painting “One Race per Planet” that now appears on the front of the Illawarra Legal Centre building.

Another highlight of the proceedings was a performance by the Wadi Wadi dancers.  Following the official duties, around 100 people joined for lunch in the Warrawong Community Centre next door to the Legal Centre.

From humble beginnings in 1985 the Illawarra Legal Centre opened with one part-time solicitor and a volunteer solicitor.  So began a free community legal advice centre serving the local community and in particular, providing a service to those who had little hope of accessing affordable legal help.  The Centre now employs over twenty staff including solicitors, advocates, community workers and administration workers. 

Further information: Amanda Smithers, Coordinator, amanda_smithers@clc.net.au

2010 Justice awards

CLCNSW award:

The CLCNSW award aims to highlight the range of activities devised and deployed by NSW CLCs to provide effective and appropriate services to people and increase their awareness of their legal rights and the legal resources available to help them resolve legal issues.  Eight nominations were received for the 2010 award, which was given to the Homeless Person’s Legal Service for Street Care, a project which has given homeless people in NSW a voice so that government agencies and service providers have a greater awareness of the wants and needs of this highly disadvantaged group.

Two highly commended awards went to the Central Coast Homeless Outreach Legal Service (Central Coast Community Legal Centre) and the Caring for Country project (Environmental Defender’s Office NSW).

Justice Medal:

CLCNSW was delighted to see Rachael Martin, Principal Solicitor at Wirringa Baiya AWLC, win the 2010 Justice Medal.  This medal is awarded by the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in improving access to justice in NSW, particularly for socially and economically disadvantaged people.

Rachael has been Principal Solicitor at Wirringa Baiya AWLC for more than a decade where she provides high quality legal assistance and advice, delivers community legal education and has influenced law reform and policy development.  She works closely with the community legal sector and government bodies to ensure that Aboriginal women and children are able to better access legal and support services, particularly in relation to domestic violence and victims compensation.  Rachael is a strong voice within the community legal sector and has worked with passion and determination to ensure that legal services and victim’s compensation are more accessible to Aboriginal women and children, particularly in the complex field of violence and sexual assault.

Helen Campbell, immediate past Chairperson of CLCNSW, congratulated Rachael on this recognition of her many years of dedicated work to improve access to justice for Aboriginal women.  "Rachael is truly an unsung hero of the justice sector and this recognition is very well-deserved”, she said.  "Rachael's acceptance speech was particularly moving. With characteristic modesty, Rachael reminded us that 'this one is for all the clients' who have the courage to stand up for their rights in the most challenging of circumstances."

Further information: Alastair McEwin, CLCNSW Director, alastair_mcewin@clc.net.au

Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

Anna Cody (KLC) and Edwina MacDonald (WLS) represented Australian non-governmental organisations before the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in New York in July 2010.  The delegation highlighted issues of political participation and representation across all communities of women, but particularly Indigenous women and women with disability.  The other priority issue was violence against women and the need for family law to properly reflect women’s experience of violence as recommended by various domestic law reform bodies.  The concluding observations reflected these concerns.

Further information: Anna Cody, Director, acody@unsw.edu.au

 5.       What are Community Legal Centres and what is CLCNSW?

Community Legal Centres (CLCs) are independent community organisations providing equitable and accessible legal services. NSW CLCs work for the public interest, particularly for disadvantaged and marginalised people and communities.  CLCs not only provide legal advice and assistance, but also encourage and enable people to develop skills to be their own advocates.  We promote human rights, social justice and a better environment by advocating for access to justice and equitable laws and legal systems.  Centres work towards achieving systemic change through community legal education, and through law and policy reform.

 

Community Legal Centres NSW Inc. (CLCNSW) is the peak body for CLCs in NSW.  It is resourced by a small State Office which is funded by the NSW Government and Public Purpose Fund.  CLCNSW has 39 member organisations including generalist and specialist community legal centres.

Further information:

Phone: (02) 9212 7333

www.clcnsw.org.au

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Annual Report 2016/17

Strategic Plan 2015-18