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On the Record - The e-bulletin #14 March 2011


On the Record – The e-bulletin


Community Legal Centres: Community, Compassion, Justice
Issue #14 March 2011


This is the fourteenth 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

2011 state election

CLC / Legal Aid NSW partnerships

2. Community Law

Advocates call for youth justice reform

Not all visits to the beach offer just sand, sun and surf

Funding boost for Marrickville Tenancy Advocacy Service

Disability Commissioner intervenes in Murrays case

Educating teenagers about cyber-bullying

Informing prisoners of their tenancy rights and responsibilities

A call for better protection for marginal renters

Women’s Legal Services’ campaign to put safety first in family law

Seniors Week: older people and planning ahead

Animal welfare legal issues

South East NSW Women’s Legal Service

Equality project: consolidation of discrimination laws

Redfern Legal Centre reports on cases involving systemic issues

3. Publications

Solids Arts: Respecting and Protecting Indigenous Intellectual Property

Northern Rivers DVD on young people’s rights at work

Revised Tenants Rights Factsheets

Copyright factsheet

4. Events and developments

International Women’s Day honour for Christine Robinson

Women’s Legal Services NSW becomes an energy saver

KLC Staff Win UNSW Excellence in Community Engagement Award 2010

Transforming Legal Education – Australian National Conference on Clinical and Experiential Learning

Justice Virginia Bell to present on the legal content of a ‘Fair Go’

Interactive workshop for young people

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

1. Community Legal Sector News

2011 NSW State Election

On 26 March 2011, NSW electors voted in Barry O’Farrell as Premier of NSW, with a large Coalition majority in the lower house (Legislative Assembly).  The new Ministry is yet to be announced; however, based on reports in the media, it is expected that existing Shadow Ministers will become the new Ministers.

In the months leading up to the election, CLCNSW undertook a number of initiatives to raise CLC issues with Members of Parliament and other government stakeholders.  In November 2010, we hosted a forum for MPs and staffers at NSW Parliament House, which aimed to raise awareness of the work of community legal centres.  The forum was attended by the then Attorney General, the Hon. John Hatzistergos, the then Shadow Attorney General Mr Greg Smith, Greens spokesperson on legal issues, David Shoebridge MLC, and a number of other MPs.  Presenters spoke about funding and law reform issues, as well as showcased a CLE project for carers in South West Sydney, and issues affecting legal centres in Remote, Rural and Regional areas.

CLCNSW also distributed to all political parties its 2011-12 budget submission, which had a particular focus on the 2011 state election.  In that submission, CLCNSW called for State funding of $8.5 million.  This includes existing maintenance funding, minimum baseline funding for all CLCs and enhanced funding for the provision of specialist services such as consumer law, prisoners and care and protection.

Going forward, CLCNSW will be arranging meetings with key government stakeholders, such as the Attorney General, to discuss issues identified in the CLCNSW budget submission, along with systemic law reform issues, as identified by CLCNSW networks, committees and working groups.  We look forward to working with the new Government, other political parties and policy makers to ensure that disadvantaged and vulnerable individuals and communities have the access to justice that they deserve.

Further information:

For funding and program issues: Alastair McEwin, CLCNSW, alastair_mcewin@clc.net.au

For law reform issues: Roxana Zulfacar, CLCNSW, roxana_zulfacar@clc.net.au

CLC / Legal Aid NSW partnerships

The CLC / Legal Aid NSW Partnership Program is a funding program for one-off projects which are undertaken in genuine partnership between at least one CLC and Legal Aid NSW.  A total of $100,000 is made available every financial year for innovative and responsive projects conducted in genuine partnership, and which aim to provide access to justice for disadvantaged people in NSW.  Applications must: demonstrate a genuine partnership drawing on the expertise of both partners; respond to a demonstrated need; be innovative; have no other realistic funding options; and have an identifiable beginning and end date.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact the CLC Program Unit within Legal Aid NSW to discuss project ideas prior to application.  Applications for projects commencing in the 2011-12 financial year close at 5pm on 29 April 2011.

Further information (including funding guidelines and the application process):

Bronwyn McCutcheon, Manager CLC Program, phone 9219 5086, bronwyn.mccutcheon@legalaid.nsw.gov.au

Jane Cipants, Project and Policy Officer, phone 9219 5669, jane.cipants@legalaid.nsw.gov.au

2.       Community law

Advocates call for youth justice reform

Representatives from pro bono legal services, children’s legal and support services, and youth services met at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre recently to identify policies and practices that need to change to improve prospects for young people in contact with juvenile justice system.

The meeting started with introductions from participants, who were asked to use one word to describe their view of the way young people are treated by the juvenile justice system. Participants used the words “angry”, “frustrated” and “inaccurate”, to name a few.

Participants shared stories about young people being stopped, questioned and searched without cause; and being repeatedly arrested for breaches of bail conditions that no longer applied.  In other instances, young people's bail conditions are so frequently monitored that it distresses family and neighbours.  Policing, bail and support for young people in contact with the justice system were among the key issues identified at the meeting.

PIAC will work with those who attended the consultation to develop strategies to achieve law reform and policy change over the next 12 months.

Further information: Brenda Bailey, PIAC Senior Policy Officer, phone (02) 8898 6522 or bbailey@piac.asn.au

Not all visits to the beach offer just sand, sun and surf

Students undertaking the Professional Program through Newcastle Law School gave beach goers more than they expected at Newcastle Beach during January and February 2011.  Thirty 4th-year Law students, supervised by University of Newcastle Legal Centre (UNLC) Solicitors, headed down to Newcastle Beach for their annual Law on the Beach legal advice clinics.  Legal advice was provided to over 100 attendees in a wide range of areas.  Clients came for assistance with neighbourhood disputes, employment issues, wills and power of attorney, tenancy disputes, family law and even the Inebriates Act.  A family lawyer from Hunter Community Legal Centre also attended providing advice to family law clients in addition to talking to law students about family law practice.

Further information: Shaun McCarthy, University of Newcastle Legal Centre, Shaun.Mccarthy@newcastle.edu.au

Funding boost for Marrickville Tenancy Advocacy Service

Member for Marrickville Carmel Tebbutt announced on 3 March 2011 that Marrickville Legal Centre will receive an additional $20,000 for the Centre’s Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Services Program.  Ms Tebbutt said that new residential tenancy laws were introduced this year and the funding would assist the Centre to help tenants understand their rights and responsibilities under the new legislation.

“This is the biggest change to the State’s residential tenancy laws in more than 20 years and it is important for all involved to find out what it means for them” said Ms Tebbutt.  “We have a high percentage of people renting in the Inner West and I encourage tenants to take advantage of the service offered by the Marrickville Legal Centre”.

Further information and the new rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants:

www.tenants.org.au

www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au

Martin Barker, Marrickville Legal Centre, martin_barker@clc.net.au

Disability Commissioner intervenes in Murrays case

In a move that has national significance for people with disability, the Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes AM, is intervening in a disability discrimination complaint the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) has lodged against bus company Murrays Australia Ltd.  The Federal Court has agreed to the Commissioner’s intervention.

‘The Disability Discrimination Commissioner’s intervention is a welcome development for passengers with disability. The case against Murrays Australia has significant implications for disability discrimination law,' said PIAC Solicitor Gemma Namey.

Ms Namey noted that the Commissioner has not intervened in a disability discrimination case for some years, but does so in matters that may significantly affect the human rights of people who are not parties to the proceedings.  

PIAC is representing Julia Haraksin, who is suing Murrays Australia after she tried to book a seat on a Murrays Australia coach to attend a work conference in Canberra. Murrays Australia told Ms Haraksin none of the company’s coaches could take her because she uses a wheelchair.  Ms Haraksin does not want financial compensation.  Instead, she is seeking a Federal Court order directing Murrays Australia to comply with national disability standards that require transport providers to ensure at least 25 per cent of their vehicles are wheelchair-accessible.  Murrays Australia has claimed that modifications would cause the company undue hardship. The case returns to the Federal Court on 3 May 2011.

Further information: Dominic O’Grady, PIAC, dogrady@piac.asn.au

Educating teenagers about cyber-bullying

Last year, Macarthur Legal Centre found that the area of cyber-bullying amongst teenagers was of particular concern to parents and school teachers.

At the beginning of the school year the Centre contacted the local public schools and high schools in its area, seeing if they would be interested in one of their solicitors doing presentations on bullying.  The Centre has been inundated with requests and will run courses for the first half of this year.  In February and March the Centre presented a total of 10 talks on bullying at one of the local high schools.  The talks have been on cyber-bullying, bullying and violence to years 7, 8 and 9 students, with the content being age-specific.

The Centre has been asked to talk to teachers, then students, at a local primary school and will do this in May.  In addition there have been presentations on FaceBook, the internet and debt to 12 troubled teenagers who are part of a Mission Australia project working with children who have been suspended from school.

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

Informing prisoners of their tenancy rights and responsibilities

Western Sydney Tenants Service (WESTS) and Macquarie Legal Centre, in conjunction with Legal Aid NSW, are running a series of twelve community education seminars in prisons in the Sydney metropolitan area.  WESTS will provide inmates with information on their rights and obligations as tenants, as well as on Housing NSW (HNSW) policies including the consequences of incarceration for their tenancy, the correct process for notifying HNSW of their changed circumstances, as well as resuming or obtaining public housing at the end of their period of incarceration.  Legal Aid will be providing credit/debt advice, and a financial counsellor will also be present to provide information and advice on sustaining a tenancy and repaying debts. The team at MLC have worked very hard to get this project off the ground, and are very excited to be able to extend the service to a group that is normally isolated and unable to access such assistance.

Further information: Bridget Kennedy, WESTS, phone (02) 88330957 or bridget_kennedy@clc.net.au

A call for better protection for marginal renters

A new four-point plan, released by the Tenants’ Union of NSW and supported by a range of community organisations, shows that a mix of better regulation and targeted investment could improve the situation of marginal renters in NSW.  Marginal renters are those who are not covered by residential tenancies law or cannot find a place in the mainstream rental market; they are often some of the most vulnerable people in the community.  There are over 25,000 marginal renters in NSW. They include residents of boarding houses and licensed residential centres for people with disability, residents in many forms of student housing, lodgers in private homes and occupants of share houses, refuges and crisis accommodation.

The TU’s four-point plan calls for:

1. Law reform to create ‘occupancy agreements’

The problem: Legal relations between marginal renters and landlords are governed by unregulated common law contracts, with no fair mechanism for resolving disputes.

The solution: Law reform on the model of the Australian Capital Territory’s successful ‘occupancy agreements’ legislation, so all marginal renters are subject to non-prescriptive ‘occupancy principles’, with dispute resolution through the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal.

2. Measures for more viable boarding houses

The problem: Traditional boarding houses are closing down, and too many of those currently operating are unsafe, poorly maintained and badly run. Existing subsidies and programs have not delivered satisfactory outcomes for investors or the community generally.

The solution: A ‘Boarding Houses Register’ to improve standards and liaison with the boarding house sector, a $15-million boost over five years to the Boarding House Financial Assistance Program, and business mentoring and other practical support for boarding house operators.

3. Services to promote social inclusion

The problem: Residents in boarding houses are often socially isolated, as are some landlords.

The solution: A ‘Boarding Houses Social Inclusion Program’ to get boarding house residents and landlords better connected with support services, including mental health and employment services, in their local communities.

4. Appropriate housing and support for people with disability

The problem: The accommodation and support provided to people with disability by licensed residential centres is generally unsatisfactory, and at its worst is abusive and exploitative.

The solution: Stronger action on standards and compliance, and movement from inadequate for-profit operators to social housing with funded support.

The full plan is available at www.tenants.org.au

Women’s Legal Services’ campaign to put safety first in family law

On 24 March 2011, the Federal Attorney-General introduced the Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill into Parliament.  The Bill proposes to make some changes to the Family Law Act to improve protections against family violence, including by placing a greater emphasis on the importance of children's safety, and more clearly defining family violence (in line with the Australian Law Reform Commission's recent recommendation) and child abuse to make it clearer to courts and the community what sorts of behaviours are included.  It would also remove some provisions that deter family violence from being reported, being the mandatory costs provisions and part of the so-called 'friendly parent' provision.  The Bill has been referred to a Senate Committee for inquiry, with submissions due on 29 April.

Women's Legal Services Australia thinks the Bill makes some positive changes but that much more is needed to ensure that the family law system is not jeopardising the safety of women and children.  First, the safety of children should always come first - there should be no limitations on this.  Second, there should be no presumptions in family law with regards to caring arrangements - each family should be treated as unique.  The current Bill does not touch in anyway on the presumptions regarding equal shared parental responsibility and the requirement for the courts to consider equal, or substantial and significant time.  Third, the safety of primary carers should receive greater protection under the Act as the safety of the primary carers affects the safety of children.

Further information:

You can find out more about the Bill, Women's Legal Services Australia's views and campaign, and how you can get involved at: www.safetyinfamilylaw.com

You can also sign up for email alerts at the website.

Edwina MacDonald, Law Reform and Policy Coordinator, Women's Legal Services NSW, 8745 6900, edwina.macdonald@wlsnsw.org.au

Seniors Week: older people and planning ahead

The Illawarra Legal Centre (ILC) used Seniors Week this year to remind older people about planning ahead by highlighting issues such as making a will, appointing an attorney and guardianship, and Centrelink entitlements in relation to aged pensions.

Illawarra Legal Centre’s Welfare Rights Advocate and a solicitor from the generalist team co-presented an hour-long session on community radio station 2 VOX FM.  This followed a Q&A format and was very well received.  An information stall was also held in Wollongong Mall on Friday 25 March, which is always a busy morning due to the weekly markets held there.  The Centre had approximately sixty enquiries on a range of topics.

Further information: Linda Brazier, Illawarra Legal Centre, linda_brazier@clc.net.au

Animal welfare legal issues

In 2008 the Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre held a community forum to gauge interest in animal welfare legal issues.  The forum was well-attended and there was clearly significant community support for the community legal centre to work in this field.  This resulted in the formation of the Northern Rivers CLC’s volunteer-based Animal Law & Education Project (ALEP).  ALEP is comprised of lawyers, law students and animal carers and engages in community education and law reform activities.  ALEP successfully lobbied the local Southern Cross University’s Law School to offer an Animal Law unit over the summer semester. The course was over subscribed with more than 80 enrolments from across NSW, proving that animal law is indeed an emerging social justice issue. ALEP has held a community forum on animal protection laws and in January 2011 joined in partnership with Southern Cross University’s Animal Law unit academics to run a highly successful Animal Law Conference ‘The Road Ahead’ which addressed the shortfalls in legal protections for animals.

Several members of ALEP, including NRCLC manager Angela Pollard, successfully completed the unit. As Angela states “It has given me the confidence to write law reform submissions on cruel but legal factory farming practices as well as engaging in a media campaign against a visiting animal circus and local rodeo events.  It is a highly contentious area, especially for a rural CLC but we have been heartened by the overwhelming support we have received from many in the community, especially from small ethical producers who are competing with agri-businesses that treat sentient animals as mere units of production.  Animals are extremely vulnerable to abuse by humans and it seems logical that community legal centres engage in animal welfare law.”  ALEP’s next project is “Our pets, our wildlife-living together”, a community workshop on the responsibilities of companion animal owners, to be held on 16 April.

Further information: Angela Pollard, Northern Rivers CLC, angela_pollard@clc.net.au

 

South East NSW Women’s Legal Service

Launched by Shoalcoast Community Legal Centre in January 2011, the South East NSW Women’s Legal Service provides legal advice and assistance to women in the South East corner of NSW.  Funded by Legal Aid NSW under the Rural Women’s Outreach Program, the service covers Local Government Areas in South East NSW, including Palerang, Queanbeyan, Cooma-Monaro, Bombala and Bega.  Justine O’Reilly commenced working as the Solicitor for the service in late 2010.  She initially undertook a scoping study to determine the unmet legal needs of women living in the South East area of NSW - from Queanbeyan to Cooma and across to Bega on the coast.

The Service provides advice via telephone and once a month has face-to-face outreach in Braidwood, Cooma and Bega.  Each month there are also alternate visits between Bombala and Wallaga Lake Aboriginal community.  These particular towns were chosen as a result of the scoping study identifying a lack of free legal services in these areas.  

Justine reports that uptake so far has been good, with her days in Cooma and Bega being particularly busy.  The areas of law that she has had most queries about to date have been: family law, care and protection, wills/power of attorney, debt and discrimination.  Her clients, so far, have been fabulous women, whom she really enjoys being able to assist and many have commented on how great it is to have a free legal service visiting their communities.

Further information: Justine O'Reilly, phone (02) 4422 9529 or 1800 229 529.

Equality project: consolidation of discrimination laws

This has been a substantial project over the last three months for Kingsford Legal Centre.  It has drawn on a coalition of community legal centres, with KLC leading the coalition and Emma Golledge particularly giving substantial guidance to the project.  KLC is hoping to make a submission by mid-March to the Federal Attorney General’s department. This will look at the current issues CLCs experience with using the Federal discrimination laws and suggest alternative ways of framing anti discrimination law which would enable more systemic changes and improve outcomes for CLC clients.

Further information: Emma Golledge, KLC, e.golledge@unsw.edu.au

Redfern Legal Centre reports on cases involving systemic issues

Old victims compensation restitution matters

Redfern Legal Centre has had a Victim’s Compensation restitution matter terminated where the application had been left inactive by Victims’ Services for 17 years.  Submissions were made solely on the propriety of the action, as compelling personal circumstances were not available as a basis for reducing the debt.  Submissions were made in May 2010, and Victims’ Services only reached a decision in March 2011.  No reason was given for the decision or the delay.  Redfern is eager to share submissions with other lawyers who have clients facing similarly defective claims. Some Legal Aid lawyers in NSW and QLD have already requested copies.

Further information: David Porter, RLC, phone (02) 9698 7277 or david_porter@clc.net.au

GIPA and Police Complaints

Redfern has also made an application under GIPA for a number of NSW Police Force policy documents and practice notes, with particular reference to Police complaints.  The application for the Police Complaint Handling Guidelines by PIAC and CLCNSW was instrumental in providing the names of specific policy documents.  Interestingly we are having some challenges even getting our application accepted, as the Information Access Unit has appeared to use grounds that might be used in a determination as grounds for not accepting the application at all.  They have now accepted the application but we await whether or not they will reach a similar decision on the substantive request. Watch this space!

Further information: Elizabeth Morley, RLC, elizabeth_morley@clc.net.au

Tenancy Repairs

It is not uncommon to hear complaints from Housing NSW tenants about repairs not being done in a timely manner.  The Inner Sydney Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Service  (“ISTAAS”), part of Redfern Legal Centre, having run a drop in service for Russian speaking clients last year, identified a systemic problem and has decided to make repairs a priority issue this year.  The client group were often elderly, frail and with little ability to communicate in English.  One man had to stay in hospital, as his place was deemed too unhealthy for him to return to.  So when three of the clients with CTTT orders for repairs came back to ISTAAS after some months with reports the repairs had still not been done, ISTAAS relisted the matters (having got orders in the original proceedings to be able to do so if the repairs were not done).  In addition ISTAAS asked that the matters be referred to the Office of Fair Trading with a view to prosecution of Housing NSW for failing to comply with the CTTT orders.  In two of the matters, the repairs were done.  In the remaining matter, the Chairperson of the CTTT has written to the CEO of Housing NSW reminding him of the importance of complying with Tribunal orders.  

Further information: Jacqui Swinburne, RLC, Jacqui@rlc.org.au

Community Housing – 90 days no ground terminations

When the new Residential Tenancies Act 2010 came in, there were fears that community housing providers would use s.63(1) 90 day no ground terminations as a way of getting rid of tenants they did not like but could not achieve eviction for breach of the lease. There were those that said community housing providers would never do that.  ISTAAS now has two such cases.  In one there is a reference to an alleged sublease (which in fact was not the case) and in the other there is a reference to alleged noise and neighbours being frightened of the tenant.  If the tenant’s conduct was such that it was a breach of the lease, then termination for breach of the lease should be used.  Obviously the housing provider does not believe they have evidence to support a breach application and so is using the 90 days no ground termination provision.   The CTTT has to order the eviction.  ISTAAS would be interested in hearing other incidences.

Further information: Phoenix Van Dyke, RLC, phoenix@rlc.org.au

On line application for credit – debt successfully written off

Redfern Legal Centre’s client has an episodic mental illness.  During an episode he applied on line for a personal loan from one of the major banks.  By the time he came to Redfern, the debt was $20,000.  Redfern Legal Centre alleged he lacked capacity.  After negotiation the bank has agreed to write off the debt.  In the past some credit providers have tried to hide behind an alleged lack of notice of the vulnerability of the client.  It is to be hoped that the 2010 changes to credit legislation requiring the credit provider to take steps to verify matters and to no make unsuitable loans will prevent situations such as this continuing to arise.  Keep a look out for these types of cases.

Further information: michelle@rlc.org.au

3.       Publications

Solids Arts: Respecting and Protecting Indigenous Intellectual Property

Arts Law has recently launched its Solid Arts website.  The website is part of a 3 year project (2010-2012), funded through the Cultural Ministers Council, which aims to develop the following Indigenous intellectual property (IIP) resources:

·      The Solid Arts website, which will include case studies and provide a portal for users wanting information about IIP;

·      Short audio recordings (MP3s) suitable for radio play in Indigenous languages about various IIP issues. These will also be available for download through the website;

·      A DVD dealing with a range of IIP issues again using various case studies that will also be available through the website (due end of 2011);

·      Posters for Indigenous artists on IIP issues (2011);

·      Information for consumers and commercial operators (2011); and

·      A face-to-face education program for key stakeholder groups (2012).

Consultations at the start of the project (mid 2010) identified the key IIP issues, gaps in resources available, what people already found useful and the most effective methods for communicating IIP information to Indigenous Artists, consumers of Indigenous art and commercial operators working in Indigenous arts.

The consultation was done through a series of mail outs, surveys, telephone conferences and forums on a national basis. The research identified the following as key issues: copyright; moral rights; protecting Indigenous cultural heritage; specific information for user groups e.g. musicians, dancers, writers; contracts for artists; licensing and assignment of copyright; employment issues for artists; online issues (putting your work on websites etc); authenticity issues; resale rights; trade marks; design; and collecting societies.

Solid Arts Website

The website provides a hub that directs users not only to new resources created as part of the Solid Arts project (e.g. case studies, audio recordings) but also directs users to the many useful resources already in existence. The website organises the information by art forms (e.g. visual arts, dance and literature) and legal topics (e.g. copyright, moral rights, contracts). It includes case studies, information about working ethically (protocols, best practice for work on collaborative projects), hot topics including what is happening in Australia and overseas, as well as a guide to useful organisations. Audio recordings (MP3 files) and audio visual resources will be added to the website as they are completed.

Feedback

Arts Law is eager for people with an interest in Indigenous cultural heritage and IP issues to provide the project with feedback and to inform them of any new initiatives which should be included. If you would like to receive updates or let them know about a new initiative (or something that may have been overlooked), then email Arts Law on artslaw@artslaw.com.au with Solid Arts in the subject line.

Further information: www.solidarts.com.au

Northern Rivers DVD on young people’s rights at work

The Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre is pleased to announce the launching of their DVD on young people's rights at work.  The DVD was funded by the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW and will be launched during Youth Week in April 2011.  With the guidance of Youth Connections North Coast media expert, young people from our region acted and were involved in all aspects of pre production, including cinematography and sound.  An education campaign for year 10-12 students at high schools in the Northern Rivers region will follow the launch.  It is envisaged that the campaign will achieve young people being more aware of their rights at work and where to get assistance and create greater access for young people to NRCLC services generally.

Further information: Karin Ness, Northern Rivers CLC, Karin_Ness@clc.net.au

Revised Tenants Rights Factsheets

The Tenants’ Union of NSW has published a revised set of Tenants Rights Factsheets.  The factsheets were issued on the commencement of new residential tenancies legislation in New South Wales on 31 January this year.  They give an overview of tenants’ legal rights and obligations and provide guidance on how to deal with common tenancy issues.  Topics include landlord ending the tenancy, rent increases, rent arrears, share housing and repairs.

New factsheets were developed in response to new provisions around renters affected by domestic violence, transfer of tenancies and sub‑letting.  Sample letters, for use by tenants corresponding with landlords or real estate agents, accompany the factsheets.

The Tenants Rights Factsheets and sample letters are available on the Tenants NSW website at www.tenants.org.au.

Copyright factsheet

The Arts Law Centre of Australia has produced a plain language factsheet on copyright, which has been added to the Law & Justice Foundation’s publishing toolkit.

Both a short and a long version of the factsheet can be downloaded from: http://www.lawfoundation.net.au/information/publishing/toolkit

4.       Events, commendations and developments

International Women’s Day honour for Christine Robinson

On International Women's Day, Christine Robinson, Coordinator at Wirringa Baiya, was honoured by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women's Alliance as one of 100 women who have made a contribution to their community and have inspired, challenged and broken down barriers to enable other women to access services and support.  The recognition is about challenging stereotypes and honouring women who have quietly achieved success in their profession, in their life and in their work. The award was designed to spread the message that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women are unique and that they do what many other women do in the world and have not been recognised for their unique strengths. Staff from Wirringa Baiya nominated Christine for this award in light of her six years as coordinator at Wirringa Baiya and her long contribution to the rights of women and children through her work in the refuge movement previously.

Further information: Thea Deakin-Greenwood, Wirringa Baiya, thea_deakin-greenwood@clc.net.au

Women’s Legal Services NSW becomes an energy saver

Concerned about the size and shape of their 'carbon footprint', WLSNSW engaged a student on placement to undertake an energy audit of its office and make recommendations for how WLSNSW could reduce both their emissions and their costs.

The student also assisted WLSNSW with an application to the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change for a Climate Change Fund Community Savers grant to make improvements to their building. They received a substantial sum to spend on ceiling insulation, the installation of energy efficient light fittings, and awnings to shade workers from the afternoon sun.  Together these improvements will contribute substantially to reducing WLSNSW’s electricity bills, especially for air conditioning, in the summer.

WLSNSW thanks the Department of Environment and Climate Change for its support and would recommend the program to other CLCs and community organisations.  The Department also provides support services for low-income households to help manage power costs.

For more information go to: www.savepower.nsw.gov.au

Further information from WLS NSW: Helen Campbell, Executive Officer, helenc@wlsnsw.org.au

KLC Staff Win UNSW Excellence in Community Engagement Award 2010

KLC staff were honoured to be the recipients of the UNSW Excellence in Community Engagement award in 2010. The award is recognition of its intensive engagement with its local and broader communities.  This award recognises the impact that community engagement activities have had on the mainstream work of the University and what has changed in the engaged community as a result of the group’s efforts.

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

Transforming Legal Education – Australian National Conference on Clinical and Experiential Learning

Kingsford Legal Centre and Frances Gibson, Director of Experiential Learning, are organising the ‘Transforming Legal Education’ conference to be held at the UNSW Law Building from 7-9 September 2011.  A call for papers/presentations/ workshops on relevant themes has been sent out. The Attorney General, Robert McClelland, will open the conference and international and local speakers are being invited.  The conference will begin with a panel session looking at the future of legal education and workshops will follow.  On the first day, there will be a training session on clinical supervision.

Further information: Denise Wasley, KLC, d.wasley@unsw.edu.au

Justice Virginia Bell to present on the legal content of a ‘Fair Go’

The next lecture in the Law, Governance and Social Justice series will be presented by High Court Justice Virginia Bell.  She will be speaking on the Legal Content of ‘a Fair Go’: “What does the concept of ‘a Fair Go’ mean
for the Australian legal system”.

The Law, Governance and Social Justice series promotes discussion about ways in which laws, legal processes and other aspects of governance can either help or hinder social justice in Australia and overseas. Addresses to date have been by Chief Justice James Spigelman, Malcolm Turnbull MP and Rev Tim Costello.

Date: 5:45pm for 6pm (concludes at 7pm), Wednesday 20 April 2011

Venue: Redfern Town Hall, 73 Pitt St, Redfern

Admission is free but it is essential to register at sjp@unsw.edu.au by Monday 18 April.

Interactive workshop for young people

Macquarie Legal Centre, with the support of Holroyd City Council, is conducting an interactive workshop dealing with legal issues affecting young people. Carolina Saez, the Youth Education Project Officer of Macquarie Legal Centre, will be presenting at the event with the help of actors to engage young people and educate them on their rights and responsibilities around drink driving, bullying, stealing and police arrest amongst others.

Date: 4:00 – 6:00pm, Wednesday 6 April 2011

Venue: Wentworthville Youth Service (Dunmore Street, Wentworthville 2145 – behind Wentworthville Swimming Pool).

All young people are welcome to attend.

Further information: Richard Bulley, Holroyd City Council, phone 9840 9840.

 

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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