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On the record - the e-bulletin


Community Legal Centres: Community, Compassion, Justice
Issue #5 September 2007

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

For more information about On the Record, or any of the events happening in the Community Legal Centres, contact Jean Parker at the State Office of the Combined Community Legal Centres Group (CCLCG) jean_parker@clc.net.au or phone 9212 7333

If you do not wish to receive future issues of On the Record, please follow the instructions for unsubscribing 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. NSW Community Legal Sector:

8 new Aboriginal Legal Access Programs in Community Legal Centres
New Training Program underway for Community Legal Centres

2. Community Law:

Northern Rivers Community Radio Project
New Intellectual Disability Criminal Justice Project
Shoalcoast CLC wins a case against a car-yard
“Silken Threads” Multicultural Theatre performance raises awareness of domestic violence
Two new Homeless Persons Legal Service clinics up and running

3. Children, young people, and the law:

‘Expect Respect’ violence prevention project
Crime Prevention workshops for high schools in the Macquarie area
Legal information on group offences for youth workers
Children in Detention Advocacy Project (CIDNAP)
Two new Aboriginal Children’s Court Assistance Scheme Workers at Macquarie Legal Centre
Anti-bullying Legal Theatre in South West Sydney
Illawarra Legal Centre makes a submission to an inquiry into youth homelessness

4. Human Rights in Action:

Women’s employment rights website launched by the Inner City Legal Centre
Human Rights Advocacy Training in the Northern Rivers
Kingsford Legal Centre contributes to Timor Leste human rights training
Northern Rivers CLC makes a submission against proposed same-sex adoption law
Welfare Rights Centre makes a submission on changes to social security laws
Indigenous legal education program at Kingsford Legal Centre
Environmental Defenders Office challenge to development plan at Carlton United Broadway site
Access card proposal still fails the public interest test – PIAC submission

5. Publications:

Access for all – 3 publications from Womens’ Legal Services NSW
Campaigning and the Law in New South Wales – Environmental Defender’s Office
Street Rights NSW – newsletter of the Homeless Person’s Legal Service
Environmental Defenders Office weekly e-bulletin

6. Events and Developments:

Welfare Rights Centre relocates within Surry Hills
Immigration Advice and Rights Centre relocates to the CBD
North and North West Community Legal Service new street address
New website for Central Coast Community Legal Centre
Public Interest Advocacy Conference
Partnerships, Prevention and Rural Action III: A conference for Aboriginal women of all ages on Child Sexual Assault issues in Aboriginal Communities
What Difference can a human rights charter make? – Paper from the seminar
Environmental Defenders Office Northern Rivers Funding Renewal
Home Building Advocacy Service information seminar
Responsibility to Protect: An emerging international norm
Legal advice during APEC

7. What are the Community Legal Centres and What is CCLCG?

 

 

1. NSW Community Legal Sector:


8 new Aboriginal Legal Access Programs in Community Legal Centres:

In December 2006 the Combined Community Legal Centres Group (NSW) (CCLCG) received funding from the Public Purposes Fund to run the CCLCG Aboriginal Legal Access Program (ALAP). ALAP is a state-wide program which aims to enable better access by Aboriginal people to legal services, increase the numbers of Aboriginal people receiving legal services, improve and enhance the capacity of Community Legal Centres (CLCs) to provide effective and culturally appropriate services to Aboriginal people, and increase awareness among Aboriginal people of their legal rights and the legal services available to them.

A key component of the ALAP is a Grants Scheme open to all NSW CLCs for projects which endeavour to meet the aims of the ALAP.  In August CCLCG awarded grants for the following new Community Legal Centre Projects:

•    The Hawkesbury Nepean CLC Aboriginal Legal Access Service Program will deliver services such as outreach programs, Community Legal Education (CLE), casework and community development for laocal Aboriginal communities.
•    The Northern Rivers CLC Mirrung Ngu Wanjarri Program will undertake family violence work, engage in community consultations, legal advice and CLE outreaches, and develop improved service delivery strategies for local Aboriginal communities.
•    The Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre Creating Spaces Program will support Aboriginal women and their children in accessing their legal, social and cultural rights to be free of sexual abuse and violence.
•    The Environmental Defender’s Office Ltd (NSW) Caring for Country will focus on improving the delivery of environmental law services to Aboriginal people in NSW.
•    The Illawarra Legal Centre Aboriginal Legal Access Worker Project will target the needs of Aboriginal clients with a credit and debt focus.
•    The Macarthur Legal Centre Indigenous Legal Outreach Project will facilitate a consultation process to develop appropriate legal service delivery model for local Indigenous People and provide legal advice and community legal education to Indigenous people in the Macarthur region.
•    The Shoalcoast Community Legal Centre Indigenous legal Access and Violence Prevention will provide education to local Aboriginal communities about legal issues relevant to both violence prevention and redress for victims.
•    The Kingsford Legal Centre La Perouse Outreach Service will open an Outreach Clinic for the Indigenous Community who live in the Kingsford Legal Centre catchment area. 

CCLCG would like to thank all centres who expressed interest in the ALAP Grants Scheme and congratulate all the centres which received grants. For further information on the ALAP, including the Grants Scheme, please contact Renee Williamson, ALAP Coordinator at the CCLCG State Office on 02 9212 7333 or Renee_Williamson@clc.net.au.

New Training Program underway for Community Legal Centres:

In the June edition of OTR we announced the Public Purpose Fund has funded the CCLCG Training Program up to June 2008. This program is being designed in recognition of the already skilled staff within Community Legal Centres (CLCs), to further enhance their skills as well as making training more accessible to Centres in Regional, Rural and Remote areas.

In dealing with the very diverse group of clients that come through the CLCs, the staff already have a vast array of skills and experience between them and the training program is being designed to further share and enhance these skills.

Since the Combined Community Legal Centres Group employed our Training Program Coordinator in May, a training needs analysis has been conducted within the CLC Sector. Now a Learning and Development plan is being created to explore non-traditional learning strategies to meet the practical training needs of the Centres. For more information contact Joanna Mantziaris at the State Office on joanna_mantziaris@clc.net.au

2. Community Law:


Northern Rivers Community Radio Project:

Northern Rivers Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service (TAAS) recently joined with the North & North West Aboriginal Tenants Advice & Advocacy Service to produce the community radio project ‘minute tips for tenants’. This project involved the joint production of 18 one minute radio ‘sound bites’ or ‘tips’ on tenancy matters. The project is currently negotiating for free airtime on local community radio stations.

New Intellectual Disability Criminal Justice Project:

The Intellectual Disability Rights Service (IDRS), in collaboration with other members of the Coalition for Intellectual Disability and Criminal Justice, is currently working on a project on alleged offenders with intellectual disability in the NSW Local Courts system. 

There are a high proportion of people with intellectual disability coming into contact with the criminal justice system.  Often their offending is due to a lack of support services.  Alleged offenders with intellectual disability may be imprisoned for want of appropriate recognition of their disability, a lack of court processes that can adequately explore diversionary options, and the unavailability of support services.

This project will identify the problems and make recommendations for reform including a model for the diversion of alleged offenders from the criminal justice system.

A copy of a briefing paper which outlines the draft report can be obtained by contacting Linda Steele at IDRS on (02) 9318 0144 or lindas@idrs.org.au.  Linda would be interested in any feedback - either issues covered in the draft report itself or on any of the various conferencing and diversionary mechanisms currently operating in the NSW criminal legal system.

Shoalcoast Community Legal Centre wins a case against a car-yard

One of Shoalcoast Community Legal Centre's solicitors appeared for a client with a hearing impairment in the Local Court to defend a claim for breach of contract. A local car-yard was suing the client and claiming that because the client had said nothing about the mechanical state of the car that he was trading in, the client was liable for the cost of repairing mechanical faults in the car that were discovered by the car-yard afterwards. The common law principle of "buyer beware" applies in such cases, and in one of the shortest hearings on record, the Magistrate ruled in favour of our client.

Later that day the was found repairing the trim on the solicitor's car, peeling off the gaffer tape and gluing all the trim back on! A most unusual yet genuine gesture of appreciation from a Shoalcoast client.

 “Silken Threads” Multicultural Theatre performance raises awareness of domestic violence:

In June Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre worked with “Silken Threads”, a local multicultural women’s theatre group, to produce a theatre workshop. This project aimed to raise awareness of domestic violence issues among culturally and linguistically diverse community members and service providers. The theatre performance used dance, movement and acting to portray a variety of emotions and issues, and highlighted some of the barriers and issues encountered in the delivery of services to culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) women.  Theatre proved to be a great medium for getting messages across to communities without an emphasis on the English language, and encouraged self expression and creativity.

The project was based on community consultations that occurred late last year where women from the Northern Rivers multicultural communities were consulted on the issues affecting their lives here in Australia.  Some of the issues identified were: domestic violence and the need for support to be provided in a sensitive manner; the experience of refugees; services not using accredited interpreters or not using interpreters correctly; social isolation; and fear of deportation or being sent to a detention centre. People from all over the region and from many different national backgrounds attended: Sudan, Thailand, Philippines, England, Singapore, China, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Kenya, and Japan.

Two New Homeless Persons’ Legal Service Clinics up and running:

The Homeless Persons’ Legal Service is pleased to announce that two new clinics have started.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth lawyers will provide assistance from Norman Andrews House (77 Roscoe Street, Bondi Beach) every Tuesday from 12:30 pm until 1:30 pm, starting on 24 July 2007. Deacons lawyers will provide assistance from the Wayside Chapel (29 Hughes Street, Potts Point) every Monday from 10:00 am until 12:00 noon, starting mid August 2007.

For further information, contact HPLS Co-ordinator Elisabeth Baraka on ebaraka@piac.asn.au or (02) 8898 6545.

3. Children, young people, and the law:


‘Expect Respect’ violence prevention project:

The Northern Rivers Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Scheme is part of the “Kids Really Count” Committee, which has developed a community campaign known as ‘Expect Respect’. The Committee compromises the Ballina/Byron Family Support Service, Bunjum Aboriginal Corporation, Ballina and Mullumbimby Community Health and Legal Aid Commission.

The Project, funded through the Law and Justice Foundation, aims to prevent violence by educating young people about healthy respectful relationships in their personal lives. The project provides practical information to young people on love, respect, abuse in relationships and the avenues to get legal help.

The campaign produced a television advertisement, information booklet, stickers, and magnets to alert young people to the warning signs of an abusive relationship and where to go for help, support and legal options. The project was developed in response to research that suggests young people were more likely to be subjected to violence than older people, yet they were also least likely to contact services.

Crime Prevention workshops for high schools in the Macquarie area:

Macquarie Legal Centre was successful in obtaining a grant from the National Community Crime Prevention Programme to deliver a series of Crime Prevention workshops to local high schools over a period of two years. The first phase of this project involved conducting extensive research into school students’ attitudes to crime in cooperation with the University of Western Sydney. The series of three workshops will be delivered to ten school groups over the next three school terms. The first Prevention Workshops were held on 10th August with presentations at Merrylands High School and Parramatta High School.

The workshops were presented by Macquarie staff with the assistance of actors from Powerhouse Youth Theatre. The professional actors present two short role plays scripted around the theme Think…Then Drive, you never know what’s around the corner. The role plays, which dealt with driving issues identified as relevant in the earlier research, are hard-hitting. Students then take part in interactive sessions that tease out the issues raised in the role plays.

Legal information on group offences for youth workers:

The Illawarra Legal Centre Inc has welcomed the education initiative of the Children’s Legal Service of the Legal Aid Commission of NSW which has provided the opportunity to present a workshop to Illawarra workers on ‘Joint Criminal Enterprise’ and group offences. This educational workshop will give youth and community workers useful knowledge of possible legal consequences arising from group offences. Importantly it will outline exit strategies to pass on to young people who are at risk of being caught up in group offences.

Children in Detention Advocacy Project (CIDNAP):

The Public Interest Advocacy Centres’s CIDNAP project aims to reform the way young people are treated by the criminal justice system. Free legal advice and representation will be provided to young people who may have experienced false arrest, unlawful detention, malicious prosecution or the use of excessive force by police or security guards. 

The project has produced a poster and brochure for legal and community centres. The card provides a quick checklist of the type of circumstances in which the project can help. Clients referred to Alex Grosart at Legal Aid NSW on 9219 5830. For copies of the poster and cards please contact PIAC on 8898 6555 or piac@piac.asn.au.

Two new Aboriginal Children’s Court Assistance Scheme Workers at Macquarie:

In July Macquarie Legal Centre welcomed Kevin Hinton and Leah Cruickshank who have come on board as Aboriginal Children’s Court Assistance Scheme Workers. In addition to providing court support the workers are undertaking a legal needs analysis to identify gaps in services to Aboriginal young people in the Court System.  The needs analysis will identify areas of need for Aboriginal young people involved with the Children’s Courts. It is hoped by identifying these gaps, the scope of the Children’s Court Assistance Scheme can be broadened to assist in reducing the rate of Aboriginal Young People facing court. Leah Cruickshank is in the early stages of writing up the literature review for this project.

Anti-bullying Legal Theatre in South West Sydney:

South West Sydney Legal Centre received a three-year Area Assistance Scheme funding allocation to design and deliver anti-bullying legal theatre to high school students. The community legal education programme entitled Can You Hear Me, completed its second season in June 2007. To date 35 schools have participated, with performances to over 2,000 students.

Legal theatre employs a forum theatre approach. This method utilises audience participation and interaction as a vehicle to highlight issues, stimulate constructive input and embark the audience on a journey of resolution of the social and legal challenges presented by the theatre scenarios. Can You Hear Me sets up three scenarios; one scenario for each protagonist in the bullying cycle. The bully, the victim and the bystander. The scenarios challenge and explore preconceptions and stereotypes and investigate the layers, dynamics and characteristics of bullying.

Formal student feedback strongly indicated the programme is connecting with and making an impact on students. 93% of students felt that the theatre represented bullying in schools very well.  The questionnaire also asks students to outline how, if at all, the legal theatre has influenced them to change their behaviour. Of the students who identified themselves as bullies, the largest change in behaviour noted was not to bully followed by be more patient with others and then try harder to understand others. These three responses accounted for over 50% of total responses. Of students who identified themselves as the victim, the largest change in behaviour was to talk about issues more followed by seek help if needed and then not to just stand by. These three responses accounted for 50% of total responses.

Teacher feedback has also been excellent. Teachers continue to be amazed at how successful the theatre is in engaging well-known school bullies to participate and offer constructive input and solutions.

Additionally, the theatre has been responsible for a number of students revealing they are victims of serious bullying and/or domestic violence at home. As a result, appropriate support and intervention has been made available for these students.

Illawarra Legal Centres makes submission to an inquiry into youth homelessness:

The Illawarra Legal Centre Inc joined other CLCs around the country in submitting evidence to the National Youth Commission of Inquiry into youth homelessness. CLC workers are well placed to see first hand the diverse range of factors that contribute to family breakdown and homelessness. An interim policy paper by the National Youth Commission notes that funding arrangements based on corporate principles rather than social need, has undermined service delivery that may prevent homelessness.

4. Human Rights in Action:


Women’s Employment Rights Website launched by the Inner City Community Legal Centre:

The website and report developed as part of the Women’s Employment Rights Project (WERP) will be launched at NSW Parliament House on 23 October by the Minister for Women, Verity Firth.  The Website has received very positive feedback and is a very worthwhile resource for CLC clients. Check it out at www.iclc.org.au.  click on publications, click the Women’s Employment Rights Project link and WERP will appear.

Inner City Legal Centre is pleased to announce that the Office for Women has provided funding of $125,000 for WERP for another year.  The new project will again monitor and collect case studies, provide 2 half day telephone advice service, training as needed and continue to update and enhance the website.

Human Rights Advocacy Training Resource in the Northern Rivers:

As part of its community legal education work, Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre has put together a ‘Human Rights Advocacy Training Resource’. The Resource is aimed at supporting local high school students to develop advocacy skills and act on equity issues they identify within their school environment. 

Students at Richmond River High School have chosen to campaign aroun the issue of homophobia. Having selected their human rights issue, the Northern Rivers CLC education worker will now work with students to develop a human rights advocacy plan, culminating with an awareness raising event to be held at the school on International Human Rights Day.

Kingsford Legal Centre contributes to Timor Leste human rights training:

Kingsford Legal Centre recently developed and presented a 5 day training in Timor Leste for UNIFEM.  The training included 2 days on the nature of human rights and specifically the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against women (CEDAW) as well as 3 days on how to prepare a shadow report.  This arose out of the work which Kingsford has done domestically in preparing Australia’s shadow report. 

The project was funded by UNIFEM and the United Nations Office for Women, in conjunction with Rede Feto, a local Timorese women’s NGO.  It was a lively and interesting time learning more about the reality of life for Timorese women and the challenges which they face.  One of the barriers identified by the training participants was entrenched views about the roles of men and women, as well as health issues including high maternal mortality given that Timor Leste is the poorest country in South East Asia with limited prenatal and postnatal care for women. 

There were 30 participants in the sessions and it certainly provided an opportunity to reflect on issues in common, such as violence against women.  Timor Leste, unlike Australia, has ratified the Optional Protocol, which means that Timorese women can make individual complaints to the CEDAW Committee.  We are still waiting for this to occur in Australia. Kingsford Legal Centre staff hope to continue the relationship with Timor Leste NGOs and UNIFEM.

Northern Rivers CLC makes submission against proposed same-sex adoption law:

The Federal Government intends to introduce the Family Law (Same Sex Adoption) Bill into Parliament during the spring session, which aims to prevent recognition of overseas adoptions in Australia by same-sex couples. The Bill, if it becomes law, would refuse to grant a visa to the child to enter Australia.

Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre has been active in raising awareness and lobbying against this Bill. The Centre has written to the Federal Labor Leader, Kevin Rudd, and their local ALP Candidate for the upcoming federal election to express opposition to the Bill and call on the ALP to speak out against the Bill and refuse to support its passage through Parliament.
The Centre also issued press releases to local media on the issue and participated in the National Day of Action on Same Sex Equality, a rally/march held in Lismore on Saturday 11 August.

Welfare Rights Centre makes submissions on changes to Social Security laws:

The Welfare Rights Centre made written and oral submissions on the exceptionally strict eligibility requirements for people who are claiming Carer Payment in respect of care they give to a disabled child.  Welfare Rights argued that the legislation needs to better target carers whose capacity to work is affected by the care they must provide, and to make claim requirements and the review process less burdensome. The submission can be accessed at www.welfarerights.org.au

Welfare Rights Centre have also made submissions in relation to the Government’s controversial attempts at the “financial management” of Social Security recipients in the Northern Territory, and of other Australian parents.  The submission pointed out that the raft of legislation unfairly discriminates against all people living within the declared Northern Territory areas as they, unlike people outside of those areas, are unable to appeal some decisions made about their payments beyond the Centrelink internal review process.  That means they will not be able to appeal to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal or beyond.  This submission was made particularly difficult because people submitting were only given three days to prepare submissions. The Welfare Rights Centre’s submission can be viewed on their website: www.welfarerights.org.au

Indigenous legal education program at Kingsford Legal Centre:

As a part of our commitment to Indigenous legal education, Kingsford continues to host winter school Indigenous students.  This is part of a UNSW program encouraging high school students to consider university careers.  Kingsford Legal Centre welcomed 19 students from around Australia considering studying law.  They were very enthusiastic and keen to learn about the work of the Centre.

Kingsford Legal Centre is also currently running an Indigenous first year course for 5 students, focusing on client communication skills.  This course includes a general introduction to the legal system with various visits to the Local Court, Legal Aid and other legal centres.  Students are also taught interviewing skills and interview clients to develop their oral and written communication skills.

Environmental challenge to development plan at Carlton United Breweries Broadway site:

Matthew Drake-Brockman, represented by the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) and barristers Francis Douglas QC and Jason Lazarus, challenged the validity of the Minister for Planning's approval for a concept plan for the redevelopment of the former Carlton United Breweries site on Broadway in Sydney. The Land and Environment Court Class 4 proceedings were dismissed on 13 August.

The concept plan proposed a large residential and commercial development. Mr Drake-Brockman alleged that the Minister failed to adequately consider the principles of ecologically sustainable development, and in particular the impact on climate change. Other grounds of challenge included that the Director-General failed to include in his report a statement relating to compliance with the environmental assessment requirements for the proposal, and the Director-General issued environmental assessment requirements for the proposal before the concept plan application was even submitted.
This judgment reinforces concern about the large discretionary power permitted to the Minister under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, and the weakness of the requirement to merely ‘consider' ecologically sustainable development.

Access card proposal still fails the public interest test:

The Federal Government still plans to introduce the controversial Access Card, though the time frame for putting the relevant legislation before the Parliament is still unknown. Various commentators claim that the proposal is off the agenda until after the Federal Election. In the interim, the Federal Government has released Exposure Drafts of the Human Services (Enhanced Service Delivery) Bill 2007 and the Human Services (Enhanced Service Delivery) (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2007. The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) has held ongoing public interest concerns about the proposed Access Card. In its submission by Carol Berry, PIAC outlines its concerns with the Exposure Drafts of the legislation, along with its concerns in regard to the proposal as a whole: http://www.piac.asn.au/publications/pubs/subexpdrft_20070823.html

5. Publications:


Access for all – 3 publications from Women’s Legal Services NSW:

On August 22nd Women’s Legal Services NSW celebrated “Access for All“ –launching three important publications that address women’s access to justice. Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, officially launched the three publications at parliament House, in Sydney:

Long Way to Equal

An update of “Quarter Way to Equal” addressing the barriers to access to legal services for migrant and refugee women in Australia.

Partnerships Prevention & Rural Action II

A Conference report on Child Sexual Assault Issues in Aboriginal communities.  Lake Burrendong. 17th – 21st May 2004.

Women’s Legal Services NSW Pictorial Pamphlet

A pictorial pamphlet about Women’s Legal Services NSW, produced with Streetwize Communications for women who identify as culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and who have minimal English literacy.

If you would like to order any of the above publications please contact Sharon Kingshott at Women’s Legal Services NSW, Sharon_Kingshott@clc.net.au or 02 9749 7700.

Campaigning and the Law in New South Wales – Environmental Defender’s Office NSW:

This plain English guide is an essential companion for those interested in learning about their legal rights to protest, and how to make informed decisions when participating in protest and campaign actions. The publication examines laws governing campaigning as they apply in a wide range of circumstances, such as on the street, in forestry areas and on Commonwealth land. It is a practical source of information that is intended to help guide campaigners through the various aspects of campaigning in NSW including: Campaign planning and protest action; Speaking out in public; General criminal offences and powers; Arrest and detention; Bail; and Preparing for court.

Cost: $20, 112p. For more information about this publication, please contact Tisha Dejmanee on (02) 9262 6989, or education@edo.org.au

Street Rights NSW:

Street Rights NSW is the newsletter of the Homeless Persons' Legal Service (HPLS). 
Edition 7, August 2007 can be read at: http://www.piac.asn.au/publications/pubs/StRights7_20070827.html

Environmental Defenders Office weekly e-bulletin:

The Environmental Defenders Office NSW produces a weekly e-bulletin which covers a wide range of developments in environmental law and publicises events. To read the e-bulletin or subscribe go to: http://www.edo.org.au/edonsw/site/bulletin/bulletin.php

6. Events and developments:


Office Relocations:

Welfare Rights Centre relocates within Surry Hills:

The Welfare Rights Centre is a community legal centre specialising in Social Security law and policy and providing free information, advice and representation about Social Security law and its administration.  For the last 15 years the Welfare Rights Centre operated out of an office in Elizabeth St, Surry Hills. The Centre has moved is  now located around the corner at 102/55 Holt St, Surry Hills.  The telephone numbers and email addresses have remained the same. The new office is wheel-chair accessible:

Welfare Rights Centre
102/55 Holt St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Ph: (advice) 9211 5300
Ph: (admin) 9211 5389
Ph: (toll free) 1800 226 028
Fax: 9211 5268

Immigration Advice and Rights Centre relocates to the CBD:

The Immigration Advice and Rights Centre (IARC) has moved from Surry Hills to Kent Street Sydney:

Immigration Advice and Rights Centre
Level 5, 362 Kent Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: (advice) 9262 3833 (Tuesday and Thursday 2-4pm only)
Ph: (admin) 9279 4300
Fax: 9299 8467
Email: iarc@iarc.asn.au
Website: www.iarc.asn.au

North and North West Community Legal Service relocates:

North and North West can now be contacted at:
107 Faulkner Street Armidale NSW 2350
PO Box 857 Armidale NSW 2350
Ph: (admin) 02 67728100
Ph: (advice) 1800 687 687
Fax: 02 6772 8107
Email: nnwcls@gmail.com

New website for Central Coast Community Legal Centre:

Congratulations to Central Coast CLC on their new website: www.centralcoastlegalcentre.org.au

Public Interest Advocacy Conference:

This year is the 25th Anniversary of the establishment of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC). To mark the occasion PIAC is holding a conference that will focus on the development of public interest advocacy in Australia and its future direction and challenges.

Date: 18 & 19 October 2007 
Place: Wesley Centre, Pitt Street, Sydney. Keynote address: The participation of civil society in Australian democracy 
Prof Larissa Behrendt, Director, Jumbunna House of Learning, University of Technology Sydney. For more information or to ensure you receive program and registration details as they become available, please send an e-mail to conference@piac.asn.au.

Partnerships, Prevention and Rural Action III: A Conference for Aboriginal women of all ages on Child Sexual Assault issues in Aboriginal Communities:

This conference is for Aboriginal women to 'gather' and 'yarn' about Child Sexual Assault issues in Aboriginal communities and work together to find solutions.

The Conference aims: 1. To provide a positive space for Aboriginal women both young and old to come together and yarn about the issues that we go through in our communities about sexual assault. 2. To provide information on the law about child protection and procedures and the process for reporting child abuse. 3. To yarn about the legal rights of children who have been victims of crime, and the services available. 4. To look at the best ways we can deal with sexual assault issues in our communities. 5. To strengthen Aboriginal women of all ages in our communities so they can work together as a team and have better support and links to other communities and service providers in NSW. 6. To take our concerns to the government.

15th-19th October 2007 Lake Burrendong via Wellington NSW Any enquiries about the conference, please contact Rene Adams (Conference Coordinator): Phone: (02) 9749 7700 or 1800 639 784 Email: rene_adams@clc.net.au Mail: Women's Legal Services NSW, PO Box 206  Lidcombe NSW 1825

What Difference Can a Human Rights Charter Make?

The NSW Charter Group along with community legal centers had Lord Robert Walker from the UK address a crowd of 80 people on 21 August 2007.  He spoke about the reception the Human Rights Act has had in the UK among the legal profession, the public and the media. Approximately a third of the cases coming before the House of Lords now have a human rights aspect to them. Lord Walker spoke about the positive significance of some cases in which the Act has enabled rights to be protected on issues such as refugee issues, rape cases, children rights and transgender rights. Copies of his paper are available from the NSW charter group (www.nswcharterofhumanrights.org).

Environmental Defenders Office Northern Rivers Funding Renewal:

The EDO has been advised that our Northern Rivers Office has gained the continued generous support of the NSW Law Society's Public Purpose Fund. Funding has increased so as to support an addition to our Lismore office team, with a community legal education and outreach officer. The EDO are greatly indebted to the ongoing enthusiasm and support of the Public Purpose Fund, which provides a substantial foundation for our ongoing work to empower communities to protect the environment.

Home Building Advocacy Service information Seminar:

Macquarie Legal Centres’ Home Building Advocacy Service (HOBAS) recently held its first information seminar in conjunction with the Office of Fair Trading. The seminar covered the Office of Fair Trading’s dispute resolution process, lodging an application at the Consumer, Trader & Tenancy Tribunal, producing evidence, negotiation and settlement advice. The seminar was well-received and the Minister for Fair Trading, the Hon. Linda Burney attended.

Responsibility to Protect - An Emerging International Norm:

Mr Gareth Evans, the current president of the International Crisis Group, addressed a forum organized by Community Legal Centres and Australian Lawyers for Human Rights on 28 August 2007.  100 people filled the room at Corrs Chambers Westgarth to hear about the Responsibility to Protect.  The responsibility to protect populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity is an international commitment by governments to prevent and react to grave crises.  Mr Evans gave an insightful overview of the obligation and what needs to be done to implement it. Copies of his paper are available at www.nswclc.org.au

Legal advice during APEC:

The Combined Community Legal Centres Group (CCLCG)  organized training on 27 August 2007, for 25 lawyers from community legal centers, Legal Aid, Aboriginal Legal Services and private firms on the relevant APEC related laws, and how to advise clients affected by the APEC powers.

A group of progressive Sydney lawyers provided free legal advice for members of the community effected during the APEC week. For more information contact Alison Aggarwal on alison_aggarwal@clc.net.au

7. What are the Community Legal Centres and What is CCLCG?


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. Community Legal Centres 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.

The Combined Community Legal Centres Group (NSW) Inc (CCLCG) is the peak body for (CLCs) in NSW. We are resourced by a small State Office which is funded by the NSW Government. CCLCG has 39 member organizations including generalist and specialist community legal centres. For more information on the NSW Community Legal Centres or CCLCG go to www.nswclc.org.au or call 9212 7333.
 

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