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On the Record Issue #24 September 2013


On The Record – The e-bulletin


Community Legal Centres: Community, Compassion, Justice
Issue #24

September 2013

This is the 24th edition of On The Record, the quarterly e-bulletin of Community Legal Centres NSW Incorporated (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

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Contents:

 

1. Community Legal Sector News

Editorial: Change in government: change in CLC landscape?

Productivity Commission inquiry into access to justice

Inquiry into equal recognition of people with disability

Collaborative approach assists traumatised clients

 

2. Community Law

Stepping up – Student-led community legal education

Hunter Homeless Connect Day

Legal Health = Mental Health: Tackling the Unmet Civil Law Needs of People with Mental Illnesses

Opening Doors: Legal Education through Interactive Theatre

Connecting with Local Schools

CLE to Housing NSW Tenants

Free Aboriginal Wills Day A Great Success

Roadmap of family services for Lismore

 

3. Human Rights in action

Rectifying the narrow window of opportunity to file victims compensation appeals

Access to Justice for People Living with Disabilities

Information sharing without consent and the NSW Domestic and Family Violence Reforms

Foetal Personhood Bill

Women’s Roundtable with Sophie Cotsis

“Get it Fixed!” website launches

Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill

Boarding Houses Act Commences

United Nations Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing

Speed networking at the Asylum Seeker Interagency

 

4. Case reports

Case Study: Sham Contracting

 

5. Media mentions

South Sydney Herald – “Celebrating Redfern Legal Centre”

South Sydney Herald – “Housing NSW’s failure to respond to vulnerable tenants”

 

6. Publications

Legal Needs overview of the Far South East region of NSW

Speak Up To End Violence Against Women

Ask LOIS Armidale

Family Law Property Settlement Workbook

 

7. Events, commendations and developments

Shoalcoast CLC Koori Touch Footy and Family Fun Day

Project funding to CLCs

Hunter Community Legal Centre Launches New Logo & Pro Bono Award Scheme

Malaysian Summit of Australia

Former Federal Attorney General increases access to justice in NSW

Susan Smith appointed to NSW Domestic and Family Violence Council

Kingsford Legal Centre & China Human Rights Technical Cooperation Visits

 

8. State Office Update

Aboriginal Legal Access Program

Accreditation Scheme

Advocacy and Human Rights

Sector Development

 

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

 

1. Community Legal Sector News

 

Editorial: Change in government: change in CLC landscape?

 

A few weeks ago, Australia saw the election of a Coalition Government, with Tony Abbott as our new Prime Minister.  In his victory speech, Mr Abbott promised to govern for all Australians.  He said: “We won't forget those who are often marginalised, people with disabilities, indigenous people and women struggling to combine career and family… We will do our best not to leave anyone behind.”

 

It seems however that this promise to govern for those ‘often marginalised’ is already on shaky grounds.  Prior to the election, the Coalition announced plans to remove $42 million of funding for Aboriginal Legal Services; the official line in the Coalition budget was to ‘reprioritise Indigenous policy reform program'.  Coalition MPs said there was no expectation it would have an impact on frontline services; rather the intention was to make cuts to areas including law reform and policy.  Whilst we understand that this decision to remove funding may be reversed, the underlying tone of why such a decision was made in the first place is clear – the Coalition does not see law reform and policy work as valuable tenets of the work undertaken by Aboriginal Legal Services and its colleagues in the justice sector, such as Community Legal Centres.

 

Indeed, George Brandis, the new Attorney-General, has said in the past that CLCs should not engage in activities which can be categorised as ‘political advocacy or activism’.  Whilst this might be an exercise in semantics, CLCs believe that advocacy, however it is defined, is an important part of the work they do.  Advocating to change an unfair law that benefits many in the community is a cost-effective way of working with government and the political process.  Any attempts to restrict this work only means that the community loses out.

 

CLCs have often been accused of advocating on ‘pet issues’, that is, issues that they pick and choose to fight for.  This could hardly be further from the truth.  Clearly, priorities have to be made, particularly with ever-diminishing funds and resources, however the basis of CLC work is informed through the community it works with.  By dealing with hundreds of advices and cases on the same issue, CLCs become familiar with which laws and policies are and are not working.  There is no denying that each individual in the community should receive legal advice when they need it; that said, it is far better use of scarce resources to make changes to an unfair law that will benefit many in the community.

 

We remind the new Government of the important role that law reform and advocacy plays.  When laws are fair and just, ultimately it is the community as a whole that benefits.

 

Further information: Alastair McEwin, Director CLCNSW, send him an email

 

Productivity Commission inquiry into access to justice

 

As advised in the June 2013 edition, the Productivity Commission is examining ways of improving access to justice in Australia.  In early July, CLCNSW met with the Commission to discuss the inquiry.  We provided initial views on what the major issues for the inquiry were likely to be and what recent developments may have an impact on issues relating to access to justice.  CLCNSW has also, along with NACLC and other State/Territory Associations, provided an initial submission to the inquiry, outlining the importance of acknowledging that many people facing disadvantage are unable to access justice services and/or secure legal representation.

 

The Commission has now released an issues paper.  CLCNSW is working with its member Centres, NACLC and other State/Territory Associations on providing submissions to the inquiry.  We are keen to ensure that there is a collaborative approach and that we can provide a wide range of evidence that assists the Commission with its consideration of the issues.

 

Further information: Alastair McEwin, Director CLCNSW, send him an email

 

Inquiry into equal recognition of people with disability

 

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has recently commenced work on an Inquiry into whether Commonwealth laws and legal frameworks deny or diminish the equal recognition of people with disability as persons before the law and their ability to exercise legal capacity.

 

The purpose of the Inquiry is to ensure that Commonwealth laws and legal frameworks are responsive to the needs of people with disability and to advance, promote and respect their rights.  The Terms of Reference specifically ask the ALRC to have particular regard for the ways that people with disability who are also children, women, Indigenous people, older people, people in rural, remote and regional areas, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people are affected by these laws and frameworks.

 

The Inquiry is a timely one, particularly in light of the launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Australia’s recent appearance at the 10th session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

 

ALRC President, Professor Rosalind Croucher will lead the Inquiry and Graeme Innes AM, the Disability Discrimination Commissioner, has been appointed as a part-time ALRC Commissioner throughout the Inquiry.  The Inquiry will run for 12 months, with an Issues Paper to be released in October 2013 and a Discussion Paper in April 2014.  There will be a number of opportunities for consultations and submissions.  The ALRC is committed to ensuring Inquiry consultations and events are accessible and the information and documents the ALRC produces throughout the Inquiry will be available in a variety of formats.

 

For more information about how to be involved in the ALRC’s Inquiry, see www.alrc.gov.au and subscribe to the Disability Inquiry e-news on the ALRC website.  

 

Collaborative approach assists traumatised clients

Joint service delivery by lawyers, counsellors/social workers and Aboriginal liaison officers at a new legal service is supporting traumatised clients to obtain the legal assistance they need.  knowmore is a national independent legal service providing confidential and free legal advice to help people navigate the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.  While knowmore provides legal assistance to all people engaging with or considering engaging with the Royal Commission, its primary client group is survivors of institutional childhood sexual abuse.

 

Funded by the Australian Government represented by the Attorney-General’s Department and established as a program of the National Association of Community Legal Centres Inc. (NACLC), knowmore is independent of both the Government and the Royal Commission.

 

The practice offers a collaborative and holistic model of service delivery that acknowledges the profound and pervasive impact of trauma on clients’ lives.  A team of lawyers, counsellors/social workers and Aboriginal cultural liaison workers work together to provide culturally appropriate and trauma-sensitive legal advice, information, support and assistance, not just about engaging with the Royal Commission, but also related legal matters.  Legal advice and information is offered through a free telephone advice line, face-to-face meetings, and outreach visits to regional and remote communities.  knowmore is working closely with other service providers including community legal centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and counselling/support services.

 

In its first two months of operation (July-August 2013), knowmore has received more than 500 calls to its advice line.  There has been an increase in calls since the commencement of the Royal Commission’s public hearings on September 16.  knowmore has also provided 30 community engagement and outreach activities in this period.

 

Clients contacting knowmore are asking questions about engaging with the Royal Commission, its terms of reference and its powers and procedures, compensation entitlements, the effect of confidentiality agreements from past proceedings or settlement, other non-litigation based processes such as financial assistance schemes and options for accessing ongoing counselling.

 

Further information: visit www.knowmore.org.au or call 02 8267 7490. knowmore’s free advice line is 1800 605 762.  The Principal Lawyer is Warren Strange.

 

2.         Community law

 

Stepping up – Student-led community legal education

As community legal educators we’ve all stood in front of an audience and “banged on” about a topic of law, adapting, improvising and delivering in what we hope is an interesting session.  Recently the Hume Riverina Community Legal Service (HRCLS) decided to let four Charles Darwin University (CDU) students* loose (under the careful watch of an experienced Family Lawyer).  The CDU students were given a brief:  prepare a CLE on family law, focusing on the areas of divorce, children and property, and deliver in a new and exciting way to a class of eager tertiary students.

 

What came of this was an interactive session which explained the relevant law, modelled a solicitor / client interview, role played a child focused mediation, set a MYTH V. TRUTH challenge (complete with chocolate frog prizes) and hosted an “identify that asset” game. 

 

The real buzz came when those same students returned to the HRCLS thankful for the opportunity to teach and share their love of the law.  As an additional bonus, the HRCLS now has a portfolio of family law “activities” to unleash on unsuspecting audiences. 

 

The benefits are many when law students become empowered to teach, and not simply to be taught.

 

* The HRCLS has a successful partnership with CDU in Darwin to deliver a family law Clinical Legal Education program.  The HRCLS hosts up to 4 students at a time for placements of 2 weeks in length. Most of the students who have participated in the program have been studying law remotely, and attend from a range of locations around Australia, including Darwin, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, and rural towns in SA, NT, QLD and VIC.

 

Further information: Alison Maher, Hume Riverina Community Legal Service, phone (02) 6057 5000.

 

 

Hunter Homeless Connect Day

On August 6, the Hunter Community Legal Centre provided free face-to-face legal advice to some of the region’s most vulnerable community members at the Hunter Homeless Connect Day.  This initiative provided a one-stop-shop of free services, activities, food, entertainment, and care packages for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Over 900 people attended the day.

 

The Hunter Community Legal Centre provided individual advice on a range of issues including tenancy disputes, problems with fine debt, domestic violence and family law issues. Those individuals with more complex legal needs have had further appointments at the Centre and continue to receive ongoing support.

 

The Hunter Homeless Connect Day was a valuable opportunity for the Centre to connect with a vulnerable sector of the community who find it difficult to access support services.  The Centre looks forward to providing free services again at the next Hunter Homeless Connect Day in 2014.

 

Further information: Georgia Marjoribanks, Hunter CLC, phone (02) 4040 9121 or send an email

 

Legal Health = Mental Health: Tackling the Unmet Civil Law Needs of People with Mental Illnesses

 

On 18 September 2013 the Central Coast Community Legal Centre and the Civil Law section of the Legal Aid NSW Gosford Office was officially informed of its successful nomination for funding under the 2013-14 Legal Aid NSW/Community Legal Centre Partnership Program.

 

Bronwyn Ambrogetti and Leanne Wollins at the Central Coast CLC, joined by Kai Wu from Legal Aid NSW (Gosford Civil), were visited by Benjamin Dougall and Alfred Swe from the CLC Program to make the announcement and congratulate both parties.

 

The "Legal Health = Mental Health" project aims to educate mental health caseworkers about the legal system and the nature of civil law issues in order that they "may assist in triage and appropriate referral of legal issues faced by their clients".  Specifically, Central Coast CLC will hire a two-day per week Project Manager to coordinate the project over 18 months.

 

The project establishes a strong evidence base in support of the need to provide targeted legal assistance for those people suffering mental health illnesses and this is an area of unmet legal need in the Gosford Region.  This project also clearly represents a genuine partnership between Central Coast CLC and the Legal Aid NSW, Gosford office.

 

The CLC Program would like to thank all those Centres who submitted an application for consideration in this round of Partnership Program funding.

 

The "Legal Health = Mental Health" project is expected to commence in November 2013 and the CLC Program wishes the Centre and the Legal Aid NSW Gosford office all the best as the project gets underway.

 

Further information: Benjamin Dougall, A/Manager, CLC Program, Legal Aid NSW, phone (02) 9212 5086, send an email

 

 

Opening Doors: Legal Education through Interactive Theatre

The Cooperative Legal Service Delivery network in the Hunter Region recently collaborated with Tantrum Theatre to create an interactive play called “Opening Doors.”  The play educates young people about the legal issues surrounding family violence and sexting and empowers them to take positive steps to resolve these issues if they do arise in young peoples’ lives.

 

The initial performance was delivered to close to one hundred Year 10 students at the Hunter River High School on August 30th.  Actors played out sections of a day in the life of a teenage girl who was experiencing family violence at home and was in trouble at school for sexting.  After each scene, the narrator facilitated discussion amongst the high school students about the legal issues that had been raised.  The students had the opportunity to ask questions of a solicitor from the Hunter Community Legal Centre and a police youth liaison officer from the local area to clarify what steps they could take if these issues arose in their own lives.

 

Due to the success of the initial performance, Tantrum Theatre is currently seeking further funding to develop a DVD and education package that could be used by other High Schools in future.

 

Further information: Georgia Marjoribanks, Hunter CLC, phone (02) 4040 9121 or send an email

 

Connecting with Local Schools

The Hunter Community Legal Centre participated in the Maitland Schools and Services Forum on August 20.  The aim of the forum was to forge strong links between schools and community services so that both groups can work together to support vulnerable families and protect students from family violence.

 

In the days following the Forum, school representatives referred individuals from their networks to the Hunter Community Legal Centre’s Family Law Program.  One local school has also invited the Centre to deliver a presentation on sexting and cyber bullying as part of their student wellbeing day.

 

Further information: Georgia Marjoribanks, Hunter CLC, phone (02) 4040 9121 or send an email

 

 

CLE to Housing NSW Tenants

The Central Coast Community Legal Centre (CCCLC) recently presented a series of Community Legal Education seminars to Housing NSW tenants on the Central Coast. These seminars were a joint project of Central Coast Tenants’ Advice & Advocacy Service, the CCCLC and the Department of Fair Trading, targeting people living in Housing NSW properties in three of the most disadvantaged areas of the Central Coast, namely Wyong, Gosford and Woy Woy.

 

Topics the presenters covered included the rights and obligations of tenants, the role of the CTTT (tenancy division) and how to make an application, repairs and maintenance issues with Housing NSW, neighbourhood conflicts (noise, trees, AVOs), and what services Fair Trading can provide.

 

Tenants were then encouraged to ask questions and interact with the presenters, and referrals were made to assist the tenants with their particular issues.

 

Housing NSW funded these seminars in order to assist tenants that were identified as having particularly high needs or difficulties, or who had specific ongoing issues with Housing NSW.

 

Further information: Bronwyn Ambrogetti, Principal Solicitor, Central Coast Community Legal Centre, phone: (02) 4353 4988

 

Free Aboriginal Wills Day A Great Success

The Central Coast Community Legal Centre (CCCLC) recently conducted a free Aboriginal Wills Day workshop and information session at the Mingaletta Aboriginal Corporation in Umina Beach. 

 

The “Will to Live” Day workshop was held on 2 September 2013 to provide members of the Aboriginal community with legal information about wills, Power of Attorney, Appointments of Enduring Guardians and Aboriginal funeral plans. The workshop was a joint project of CCCLC, Ashurst Australia, Legal Aid and Catholic Care Broken Bay.

 

Thirty-three participants attended the Free Wills Day workshop to learn about the legal consequences of drafting a will. Sixteen workshop participants were assisted by Ashurst’s solicitors to draft their own will in subsequent appointments. 

 

The workshop followed on from the success of the free Aboriginal Wills Day workshop undertaken by Ashurst Australia and CCCLC in Wyong in December 2012.

 

Further information: Bronwyn Ambrogetti, Principal Solicitor, Central Coast Community Legal Centre, phone: (02) 4353 4988

 

 

Roadmap of family services for Lismore

The Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre recognised that with the constantly changing landscape of community service organisations in Lismore it was hard for staff to provide appropriate referrals to family law clients in need.  The NRCLC has received a small grant from the Law & Justice Foundation to contact local community service providers and get up to date information about their services for separating families.  The NRCLC and L&JF will then create a roadmap of services in Lismore that can assist separating families.

 

The roadmap will be designed and printed as an easy reference guide for community service providers who are already excited about the resource.  Service providers are being contacted by an Aboriginal specialist worker who also asks how many Aboriginal people access their service.  The intention is to identify potential areas where the needs of the Aboriginal community are not being appropriately addressed and hopefully with further grants address these gaps.

 

Further information: Katja McPherson, Solicitor, Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre, phone (02) 6621 1000 or send an email

 

3.         Human Rights in action

 

Rectifying the narrow window of opportunity to file victims compensation appeals

Under the old NSW victims compensation scheme a victim of violence had a right to lodge an appeal for their claim to be re-assessed by a Magistrate, if they were unhappy with the original assessment.  A victim had three months to lodge an appeal.  When the law changed in June 2013 it had the effect that any appeal pending, or potential appeal, would be considered under the new law.  

 

The new law significantly reduces the amount of compensation victims can receive.  The likely effect of the law was that a number of victims who could have lodged an appeal did not because the result under the new law would be worse.  It is also likely that some victims who had appeals pending withdrew their appeal for the same reason.

 

In acknowledgement of this injustice, the Government introduced a regulation on 16 August 2013 so appeals or potential appeals could be determined under the old law.  However, the three month period was backdated to start on the 3 June 2013, (the date when the new law started), rather than from the 16 August 2013, when the regulation commenced. This meant people who were eligible to appeal their decision had less than one month to do so. 

 

This injustice was further compounded by a lack of notice and no publicity about this regulation by the Government when it was introduced.  Information about the regulation was not put on Victims Services website until 5 September 2013, essentially when the time limit was about to pass.

 

CLCNSW believes the lack of notice by the Government about this regulation is extraordinary, given the significance of the regulation and the detrimental impact of the new law for many victims of violence.

 

To fix this injustice, CLCNSW wrote to the NSW Attorney General recommending that a supplementary regulation be introduced which gives the relevant victims a further three months to lodge an appeal to be assessed under the old victims compensation scheme.  The time limit should run from the date of the new regulation.  We also recommended that Victims Services should subsequently write to all relevant victims about the supplementary regulation to give them an opportunity to lodge an appeal if appropriate.  Additionally, the Government should make a public announcement about the regulation as well as publish public notices about the regulation in all major newspapers.

 

Informing people of their rights is particularly important because a victim of violence who has experienced terrible trauma cannot be expected to know that a new regulation about their appeal rights has been introduced.

 

If you share these concerns, you too can write to the NSW Attorney General.

 

Further information:

Rachael Martin, Convenor or CLCNSW Victims Compensation Committee and Principal Solicitor, Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Legal Centre, send an email

Pip Davis, Assistant Principal Solicitor, Women’s Legal Service NSW, send an email

 

 

Access to Justice for People Living with Disabilities

On July 18, Hunter Community Legal Centre solicitor, Michael Giles, visited the new DisabilityCare shop front in Charlestown, NSW to participate in a public meeting with the Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss issues affecting people living with disabilities in the Hunter region.

 

Discussion focused on what needs to be done to ensure that the rights of people living with disabilities are protected and that they have access to justice in the criminal justice system.

 

Further information: Michael Giles, Hunter CLC, phone (02) 4040 9121 or send an email

 

 

Information sharing without consent and the NSW Domestic and Family Violence Reforms

The NSW Government has been undertaking consultations regarding the NSW Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) Framework (now called reforms) since September 2012. In June 2013 a series of consultation papers were released for public comment. Women’s Legal Services NSW’s (WLS) submission is available here.

 

A key focus of both the DFV Justice Strategy and Reforms is information sharing without consent. For example, NSW Police sharing a domestic violence victim’s personal information with a domestic violence service without the victim’s consent. While WLS supports efforts made to improve responsiveness to disclosures of family violence and supports a co-ordinated, integrated and holistic response, we believe information sharing is a very complex issue and requires careful consideration, particularly regarding the many and potentially serious implications of such information sharing. We agree if a victim is at imminent risk it may not be possible to obtain informed consent before sharing information. However, this is the current law.

 

WLS believes there are inherent safety and breach of privacy risks which are not adequately addressed when informed consent is dispensed with. For example, victims of violence, especially in small communities, may not wish to engage with a service to whom the NSW Police has provided their personal information because a relative of the perpetrator works at that organisation or the organisation does not work in a culturally safe manner.

 

Additionally, the sharing of information, both with and without informed consent, has the potential to undermine the efficacy of sexual assault communications privilege. The broader the sharing of information with agencies outside a counselling relationship, the more easily confidential and sensitive communications can be subpoenaed and potentially used against a victim of violence in a sexual assault hearing.  Such information may also be used by the perpetrator of violence in other court proceedings as a way of continuing the violence.

 

Many women may be reluctant to report domestic and family violence to police as a result of information sharing without informed consent. WLS is particularly concerned this will be the case with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Additionally, the fear of being outed due to the sharing of information without consent may result in a decrease of reports of violence to the police by the LGBTIQ community.

 

Information sharing without consent will also impact upon those defending AVOs but on further enquiry into their circumstances are victims of domestic violence – the primary aggressor being their partner and the person the police initially assessed as being the ‘person in need of protection’.  It is unclear what opportunities will be in place to ensure incorrect information is corrected.

 

WLS has raised concerns about information sharing without consent during parliamentary inquiries, consultations on the NSW Domestic and Family Violence Reforms and with the Department of Attorney General and Justice.  Members of the NSW Women’s Alliance, including Women’s Legal Services NSW, Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Legal Centre and Inner City Legal Centre, have also expressed concerns.

 

While opposed to information sharing without consent, if this does occur, the NSW Women’s Alliance, including WLS, recommends important safeguards, such as limiting the sharing of information without informed consent to a single, centralised body.

 

The Department of Attorney General and Justice will be consulting further with stakeholders about the information sharing protocols in October 2013.

 

Further information: Liz Snell, Law Reform and Policy Co-ordinator, Women’s Legal Services NSW, phone (02) 8745 6900, send an email

 

Foetal Personhood Bill

NSW Parliament is currently debating legislation to give legal personhood status to a 20-week-old foetus so that grievous bodily harm charges can be made for certain offences against someone who destroys or harms a foetus. Under the existing law the destruction of a foetus is defined as an injury to the pregnant woman.

 

Women’s Legal Services NSW and CLCNSW have been working with women’s groups, the NSW Bar Association, the AMA and others to oppose this bill.

 

On 24 May 2010, The Honourable Michael Campbell QC was appointed by the NSW Government to review whether current provisions in the Crimes Act enabled the justice system to respond appropriately to criminal incidents involving the death of an unborn child. The review was initiated following the stillbirth of Zoe Donegan (of Zoe’s Law), after her mother was hit by a car while 32 weeks pregnant.  Mr Campbell recommended that no change to the Crimes Act was needed.

 

The Bill (Crimes Amendment (Zoe's Law) Bill No. 2 2013) exempts harm to a foetus as part of a medical procedure with the consent of the pregnant woman but this this exemption may not cover the use of RU486 and the law could be used to bring charges against pregnant women abusing drugs and alcohol, as has occurred in the United States.

 

If successful, this will be the first piece of legislation in Australia that draws a distinction in personhood between a woman and the foetus she is carrying. We are concerned that this paves the way for broader changes granting legal rights to foetuses, which have resulted in prosecutions of women elsewhere where they are deemed to have acted contrary to the interests of the “person” they are carrying.

 

The legislation raises serious concerns for women’s reproductive rights.

MPs have been given a conscience vote on this legislation. CLCNSW has set up a website where people can email MPs to ask them to oppose the bill (see: clcnsw.good.do/zoeslaw).  The Bill is due to be debated next in the NSW Parliament on Thursday 17th October and voted on after this.

 

Further information: Kerry Nettle, locum Advocacy & Human Rights Officer, CLCNSW, phone (02) 9212 7333 or send an email or http://www.clcnsw.org.au/cb_pages/reproductive_rights.php or http://www.womenslegalnsw.asn.au/law-and-policy-reform/zoes-law.html

 

Women’s Roundtable with Sophie Cotsis

On the 10th July, the Hunter Community Legal Centre’s Managing Solicitor, Liz Pinnock, participated in a women’s roundtable discussion with the Hon. Sophie Cotsis MLC. Ms Cotsis is the Shadow Minister for the Status of Women. The purpose of the roundtable discussion was to identify the policy issues relating to women in NSW that will improve their quality of life.

 

The discussions centred on issues of domestic violence and the adverse effect that recent changes to the victims compensation scheme will have on women. These important matters were then raised in the NSW Budget Estimates Hearings in August.

 

Further information: Georgia Marjoribanks, Hunter CLC, phone (02) 4040 9121 or send an email

 

 

“Get it Fixed!” website launches

Redfern LC is proud to be part of Get it Fixed! - a group of community organisations which has recently launched a website featuring tenants’ stories about their attempts to get Housing NSW to do repairs and useful information for tenants to get in contact with local services.  Tenants can have their own stories heard by contributing material to the website: www.getitfixednsw.com

 

RLC’s tenancy service has been approached by a large number of tenants with very serious maintenance and repair problems in their public housing properties. We are also seeing cases where Housing NSW has failed to carry out repairs, even when a tribunal has ordered that repairs be done. Get it Fixed! will help these tenants’ voices be heard.

 

Further information: Sophie Farrell, Communications and Volunteer Manager, phone (02) 9698 7277 or send her an email

 

 

Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill

The Federal government abandoned its Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill and introduced, instead, the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill.  This Bill passed the House of Representatives on 30 May. While the new Bill contains welcome protections for sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex people, it is disappointing that there was not political will to progress the broader discrimination reforms.  Kingsford Legal Centre wrote to and called politicians’ offices before they abandoned the Bill, and KLC made a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the new Bill, and issued media releases around both Bills.

 

Further information: Anna Cody, Director of KLC, send an email

 

Boarding Houses Act Commences

The Boarding Houses Act 2012 commenced in full on July 1, a long awaited change that will mean that boarding house residents are better protected in law. RLC has been working for many years to secure greater protections for boarders and lodgers, who are excluded from the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (RTA).  This means they cannot rely on that Act for remedies when they are evicted or have their bonds or goods withheld.

 

The Act was passed in October last year, with some of its provisions commencing earlier this year, including the requirement to register boarding houses. The Boarding Houses Act applies to ‘registrable boarding houses’, which are premises that provide beds for five or more people for a fee. The Act says these premises must be registered, and Fair Trading holds the list of all premises that have registered here

 

Importantly for residents, the Act requires proprietors of boarding houses to comply with the occupancy principles, a set of rules setting out the rights and obligations of residents when they live in a boarding house.

 

The principles include:

·         That a proprietor must give reasonable written notice before evicting a resident;

·         How utilities can be charged to a resident;

·         How a proprietor has to treat a security deposit or bond;

·         That a proprietor has to provide written receipts for money they receive from a resident.

 

A proprietor must give a resident a written occupancy agreement and must tell the resident about any house rules before they move in.

 

The Act also allows residents and proprietors to take action in the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT) over a dispute, and remedies include orders that a party comply with the occupancy principles, orders for compensation and orders for a resident to access the property to retrieve goods after eviction.

 

While these protections are a big step for residents, there is still no clear statement about what is ‘reasonable’ notice before evicting a resident. A standard occupancy agreement has been released by Fair Trading, but it doesn’t give binding time periods for notice, just recommendations that a proprietor can choose to adopt. The agreement itself isn’t mandatory either – the proprietor can use their own form of agreement.

 

There is a three-month period after commencement of the Act to allow proprietors to comply with the new rules. On 1 October 2013 the occupancy principles will become part of all agreements between residents and proprietors of registrable boarding houses, opening up the right for residents to take their dispute to the CTTT if their agreement or arrangement contradicts the principles.

 

Read RLC’s submission about the Standard Occupancy Agreement for Boarding Houses, and why it needs to contain minimum notice periods, here.

 

Further information: Sophie Farrell, Communications and Volunteer Manager, phone (02) 9698 7277 or send her an email

 

 

United Nations Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing

 

Ms Kim Boettcher of The Aged-care Rights Service Inc. (TARS) in Sydney and Mr Bill Mitchell of Townsville Legal Centre attended the 4th Session of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing as delegates of NACLC from 12-15 August 2013.  Both Solicitors were given the opportunity to address the United Nations Session because NACLC is a registered NGO at the United Nations and can therefore make representations to Member States as part of "civil society".  The addresses and joint report are available on the NACLC website.

 

Kim and Bill also participated in daily NGO briefings in relation to working towards a proposed Convention on the Human Rights of Older People.  COTA Victoria was represented by Ms Sue Hendy, who as a UN veteran was very supportive of the NACLC delegates.

 

Further information: Kim Boettcher, TARS, phone (02) 9281 3600.

 

 

Speed networking at the Asylum Seeker Interagency

On September 20, Gilbert + Tobin hosted a get-together for the Asylum Seeker Agency that was organised by RACS and PILCH. The Asylum Seeker interagency meets bi-monthly and is a gathering of organisations that assist asylum seekers, whether it be with housing, welfare, health or legal problems.

 

Sometime ago, it was suggested that frontline staff from the organisations involved in ASI get together and talk about what they do and how they help our mutual clients.  Having successfully tested their “speed networking” tool at the recent NACLC conference in Cairns, PILCH suggested using it once again at this meeting.  RACS approached G + T who kindly offered to host the event.

 

Nineteen organisations, including IARC, a fellow CLC member, gathered in the splendid G + T rooms on a recent Friday.  Each organisation nominated a speaker to explain their programs and then the “speed networking” began. An hour later, barely anyone had a voice left but attendees had learnt a lot about each other’s agencies and had been distracted for a short time (at least) from the gloomy future facing asylum seekers.

 

Thanks to Amnesty, Refugee Council of Australia, Legal Aid, IARC, Asylum Seekers Centre, Marist Youth, Law Access, Red Cross, Playfair, Jesuit Refugee Service, House of Welcome, IOM, Settlement Services International, Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, Enkeshafi Migration Advice, the Rev John Jegasothy from the Uniting Church, MOSAIC, RACS and PILCH for coming along.

 

 

 

Further information: Tanya Jackson-Vaughan, RACS, send an email

 

4.         Case notes

 

Case Study: Sham Contracting

Louis came to Australia from France on a Working Holiday Visa. His English language skills were not strong. Louis posted an advertisement on Gumtree outlining his experience in bricklaying and concreting. Bob, the manager of a construction company, contacted him. Louis was hired for a job and told he would be paid $25 per hour. He worked for ten days, until the job was completed. However when he attempted to retrieve his payment, Bob advised Louis that he would have to get an ABN. When Louis refused, Bob told him that he would be taxed at 46.5%.

 

When Louis received no payment for several months despite sending many emails and phoning Bob and the owner of the company, he lodged a complaint with the Fair Work Ombudsman (FOW). He received a letter of reply stating that there was insufficient evidence to support his complaint, so the FOW would not be taking any further action.

 

Louis attended an appointment at Redfern Legal Centre. With the help of an interpreter, he was able to explain his situation. RLC helped him to compose a letter of demand to send to Bob and recommended that he ask the FOW to reconsider his matter as he appeared to be an employee and not a contractor. His status as an employee was characterised by the fact that he worked for a single organisation, used their tools, was told when to come to work and what tasks to perform and bore no commercial risk. Conversely, genuine independent contractors operate their own business, enter into contracts for service with more than one business or contract, are hired on a temporary basis to perform a specific task, provide invoices and usually set up their own hours of work, using their own tools and equipment.

 

Later, Louis discovered that the company he worked for had been deregistered and he decided not to pursue the debt any further.

 

Louis’ situation is an example of sham contracting. Such an arrangement occurs when an employer deliberately masks an employment relationship as an independent contracting arrangement to avoid paying the worker as an employee. Workers such as Louis miss out on rights and entitlements like sick leave, protection against unfair dismissal, workers’ compensation, insurance and minimum awards and conditions.

 

Further information: Sophie Farrell, Communications and Volunteer Manager, phone (02) 9698 7277 or send her an email

 

5.         Media mentions

 

South Sydney Herald – “Celebrating Redfern Legal Centre”

Justice Virginia Bell, a long-time resident of Redfern, spoke recently at a fundraising event in support of the Redfern Legal Centre. She gave those present some insights into the history and function of the Centre. It was opened in 1977 with one paid staff member, who was supported by volunteers. Justice Bell, who was called to the Bar in 1984, herself worked free for the Centre in its earlier years.

 

Full story: http://www.southsydneyherald.com.au/celebrating-redfern-legal-centre/#.Ui6rd1TbJ41

 

Further information: Sophie Farrell, Communications and Volunteer Manager, phone (02) 9698 7277 or send her an email

 

 

South Sydney Herald – “Housing NSW’s failure to respond to vulnerable tenants”

 

RLC’s piece in the South Sydney Herald focused on a complaint RLC lodged with the NSW Ombudsman regarding Housing NSW’s ongoing failure to respond to the needs of their tenants. The complaint highlights six case studies in which tenants repeatedly tried to communicate with Housing NSW with no response.

 

Full story: http://www.southsydneyherald.com.au/housing-nsws-failure-to-respond-to-vulnerable-tenants/#.UiaCilTbJ41

 

Further information: Sophie Farrell, Communications and Volunteer Manager, phone (02) 9698 7277 or send her an email

 

6.         Publications

 

 

Legal Needs overview of the Far South East region of NSW

Shoalcoast CLC, as convenor of the Shoalhaven and South Coast Cooperative Legal Services Delivery Program, facilitated a meeting of South East service providers in Bega in 2012 to consider the issue of the unmet legal needs of disadvantaged residents and ways to address these needs.  This led to the formation of a working group, convened by the Southern Women’s Resource Group, which applied to the Law & Justice Foundation of NSW for support to undertake a legal needs analysis to assist in campaigning for additional funds to be provided to establish a Community Legal Centre in the South East.  The L&J Foundation provided an in kind grant using their staff to produce the report Legal Needs of the Far South East region of New South Wales in August 2013.

 

The report provides an overview of the legal needs of socio-economically disadvantaged people living in the Far South East communities of Cooma-Monaro, Snowy Rivers, Bombala and Bega Valley local government areas.  Data from various sources was used to prepare the analysis including the ABS Census and L&J Foundation Legal Australia-Wide Survey.

 

The major findings will be used by Shoalcoast CLC and agencies located in the South East to raise awareness about the demographics of the area and how the legal needs of identified groups are currently not being addressed through a lack of funding for publicly funded legal services in the area.

 

The report can be downloaded from the Law and Justice Foundation’s website here

 

Further information: Kerry Wright, Shoalcoast CLC, send her an email

 

Speak Up To End Violence Against Women

Women's Legal Services NSW (WLS) is proud to announce an upcoming project, Speak Up To End Violence Against Women.  After receiving funding from the Amnesty International Innovation Fund, WLS is developing a mobile website serving two important purposes.

 

First, it will provide an accessible and easily navigated national directory of domestic violence services.  Second, it will encourage members of the broader community to become engaged in a national dialogue by finishing the sentence: ‘we could reduce violence against women by…’

 

The mobile website’s national domestic violence service directory will help women in need to access information and support.  It will enable anyone to enter their postcode or suburb, anywhere in Australia to instantly find a comprehensive list of local and peak domestic violence services. 

Responses to ‘we could reduce violence against women by…’ could range from suggesting locations where people feel streets should be better lit at night, reporting specific articles, websites or media portrayals that glorify violence against women, reporting a support service that has not responded appropriately to a victim or suggesting campaigns or training programs that would benefit targeted communities.  Every voice counts and WLS will make recommendations to different levels of government based on the collated community feedback.


The project aims to complement existing primary prevention, social media and community education projects relating to violence against women. It will provide established audiences with the option of elevating themselves from being mere passive recipients of information to becoming empowered agents of change. 

 

Through this project, WLS aims to get Australia thinking about violence against women more actively to place it at the forefront of the public consciousness.  It also intends to increase public awareness of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 and to demonstrate that community input is valued and can lead to change. 

WLS will launch the site in conjunction with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women/White Ribbon Day (25 November 2013).

 

Further information: contact Alex Davis, Women’s Legal Services NSW on (02) 8745 6934, or send an email

 

 

Ask LOIS Armidale

Women's Legal Services NSW (WLS NSW) is proud to announce the launch of Ask LOIS Armidale, a project funded by the Attorney-General’s Department as a part of the Federal NBN Regional Legal Assistance Program 2013-2015.  The project was launched on Wednesday 25 September in Armidale, followed by a free interactive digital literacy workshop for community workers.

 

Ask LOIS (www.asklois.org.au) is a secure website providing a free legal online information service (LOIS) with over 850 members. The project delivers interactive online legal training and real-time legal support to community workers across NSW who work with women in domestic violence contexts.

 

The website aims to provide additional support to frontline community workers, especially those in regional and rural locations. To ensure the website is tailored to these worker’s needs, Women's Legal Services NSW has partnered with local organisations in Armidale who are helping to steer the website’s content and development. WLS NSW partners are North and North West Community Legal Service, Armidale and District Women's Centre, Armidale Family Support and Centacare New England North West. The project is utilising NBN technology to move the project forward and to connect community workers, overcoming geographical barriers.

 

The website features fortnightly training webinars presented by solicitors and experts in the field on a range of topics including family law, domestic violence and child care and protection. The subjects of these webinars is guided by the Armidale partners.

 

The website also offers real-time face-to-face legal advice and support using video-conferencing, interactive case studies, forums, a NSW domestic violence service directory and extensive resource library.

Whether regional, rural or metropolitan, workers can access free and expert legal advice and information, anytime, anywhere. CLE activities can now reach a statewide audience and can be accessed at the worker’s convenience from the comfort of their office, home or smartphone.

 

The website acts as a one-stop-shop to enhance and strengthen worker’s capacity so they can confidently respond to their client’s needs and help in the fight to reduce violence against women.

 

Further information: contact Alex Davis, Women’s Legal Services NSW on (02) 8745 6934, or send an email

 

 

Family Law Property Settlement Workbook

Shoalcoast CLC has recently funded the design and publication of a new resource for clients dealing with Family Law Property Settlements.  The publication is a practical workbook to assist clients with the four step process involved in property settlements which they can use during mediations and or lawyer negotiations.  It includes a glossary of terms used in Family Law as well as information about Family Law Property Settlements and how these are made legally enforceable, when there is Family Violence as well as Immigration information for people with Temporary Partner Visas.

 

Shoalcoast has also translated a summary sheet about the contents of the Workbook into six languages: Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Persian and Thai.

 

To complete this workbook and prepare for the different steps in the property settlement process clients are asked to enter information in the following work sheets (these are perforated for easy removal):

Ø  Complete the Personal Overview Form

Ø  Complete Table 1 Current Assets

Ø  Complete Table 2 Current Liabilities

Ø  Work out the total net worth of the property

Ø  Complete Table 3 Assets brought by you into the relationship

Ø  Complete Table 4 Liabilities brought by you into the relationship

Ø  Complete Table 5 Assets brought by your ex-partner into the relationship

Ø  Complete Table 6 Liabilities brought by your ex-partner into the relationship

Ø  Complete Table 7 Contributions made by you during the relationship (both financial and non-financial)

Ø  Complete Table 8 Contributions made by your ex-partner during the relationship (both financial and non-financial)

Ø  Complete Table 9 Contributions made by you after separation (both financial and non-financial)

Ø  Complete Table 10 Contributions made by your ex-partner after separation (both financial and non-financial)

Ø  Provide details of any important factors you think should be considered to help work out each person’s future needs.

 

Workbooks can be purchased from Shoalcoast CLC for $4.00 each (inc GST).  The translated sheets are free and available in PDF format for emailing to interested services. Contact Shoalcoast CLC on 4422 9529 or send an email to have an order form sent to you.

 

Further information: Kerry Wright, Shoalcoast CLC, send her an email

 

7.         Events, commendations and developments

 

Shoalcoast CLC Koori Touch Footy and Family Fun Day

 

The 2nd Shoalcoast Community Legal Centre Koori Touch Footy and Family Fun Day was planned by Steven Brandon and Caryn Carpenter. There were 13 teams and about 300 people attended throughout the day.  Information stalls were provided by Shoalcoast CLC/Legal Aid, Department of Health, Headspace, Waminda, Oolong House, Aboriginal Medical Service, PCYC, Local Police, Nowra Youth Centre, Family Referral Service, Red Cross.

 

Shoalcoast Community Legal Centre would like to thank Shoalhaven City Council for sponsoring the Jumping Castle and Bouncy Boxing, Sport and Rec NSW for providing the balls and whistles, East Nowra Butcher and the East Nowra Bakery, and a BIG thank you to the volunteer Referees for the day.

 

Further information: Zachary Armytage, ALAP Community Development Worker, CLCNSW, phone (02) 9212 7333 or send an email

 

 

Project funding to CLCs

The Law and Justice Foundation congratulates the following community legal centres who were successful in their grant applications to the Foundation this year:

 

Inner City Legal Centre for the LGBTI Safe Relationships Project for workers. ICLC will travel to a range of regional and rural locations around NSW to deliver training to frontline workers providing services to people who are at risk of, or experiencing, same-sex domestic violence. This project will grow the pool of non-legal “problem noticers”, as workers will be trained to provide appropriate legal information and referral to legal assistance.

 

Mt Druitt CLC, to develop a website to promote their services in English and community languages.

 

Macarthur Legal Centre, to update The Debtors Guide To Local Courts in NSW. There have been a number of changes in this area since the last edition, including the introduction of Work Development Orders and changes in relevant legislation, so this plain language resource will update and expand information on debt for the use of lawyers, financial counsellors and debtors seeking information about their options.

 

Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre, to identify and document the legal roadmap that faces Aboriginal families in the Lismore area following separation. This work will contribute to a larger piece of research that the Foundation is doing on what works in legal service delivery.

 

The Foundation’s next grant round opens in January 2013 and closes on Friday 21 March.  Intending applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Foundation’s Grants and Legal Information Manager, Jane Kenny, to discuss their application well in advance of submitting a proposal. Jane can be contacted on 8227 3210 or send an email

 

 

Hunter Community Legal Centre Launches New Logo & Pro Bono Award Scheme

On the 19th July, the Hunter Community Legal Centre played host to a members of the local legal profession and representatives from the community sector and the judiciary to celebrate the launch of the Centre’s new logo.

 

The Centre also launched its new Pro Bono Awards Scheme to recognise the contributions made to the work of the Centre by volunteer lawyers and law students.

 

Further information: Kim Richardson, Hunter CLC, phone (02) 4040 9121 or send an email

 

Malaysian Summit of Australia

Redfern Legal Centre was invited to speak at the inaugural Malaysian Summit of Australia (MASA) Careers, Conference and Excellence Awards held at UTS. Over 200 Malaysian students attended the conference to have their career questions answered by representatives from organisations such as RLC, Shell, ANZ and the Australian Tax Office.

 

Principal Solicitor, Elizabeth Morley, explained the satisfaction that RLC volunteers experience through utilizing the law to address social injustices within the community. The conference also learned that international students may seek assistance from RLC in matters involving credit and debt, police complaints, employment, tenancy, domestic violence and discrimination.

 

Further information: Sophie Farrell, Communications and Volunteer Manager, phone (02) 9698 7277 or send her an email

 

 

Former Federal Attorney General increases access to justice in NSW

The Former Federal Attorney General, the Hon. Mark Dreyfus QC, formally announced funding of $200,000 over four years to Redfern Legal Centre on 27 August 2013. This funding comes at a crucial time for RLC. The Centre recently lost $285,000 of annual NSW government funding for its credit and debt service.

 

Further information: Sophie Farrell, Communications and Volunteer Manager, phone (02) 9698 7277 or send her an email

 

 

Susan Smith appointed to NSW Domestic and Family Violence Council

RLC’s Sydney Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service Coordinator Susan Smith has been appointed to the newly established NSW Domestic and Family Violence Council. The aim of the council is strong collective leadership between service providers to make sure there is an effective, sustainable and consistent approach to preventing violence in NSW.

 

Full details: http://www.women.nsw.gov.au/violence_prevention/dfv_council_applicants_sought

 

Further information: Sophie Farrell, Communications and Volunteer Manager, phone (02) 9698 7277 or send her an email

 

 

Kingsford Legal Centre & China Human Rights Technical Cooperation Visits

Earlier this year Kingsford Legal Centre hosted a one day visit by a Beijing legal NGO called Zhicheng Public Interest Law.  The group provides legal assistance to migrant workers and children in China.  It was a full day of experiencing and talking about the various aspects of KLC’s work, particularly the way we work with law students to provide our client services.

 

After this visit, KLC was asked to present to the same organisation, and all its workers on 2 related themes in their home city of Beijing.  Dianne Anagnos travelled to China on 13th June for 4 days to do this.  We were asked to present on the challenges NGOs face in the legal sector, the way we promote and protect human rights in Australia and also how we work with students to increase our capacity.  The workshop was attended by over 40 lawyers from community legal organisations from throughout China. It was a great opportunity to make connections, share experiences and gain a deeper understanding of some of the challenges NGOs in other countries face.

 

Further information: Anna Cody, Director of KLC, send an email

 

8.         State Office Update

 

Aboriginal Legal Access Program (ALAP)

 

 CLC Yarn Up and Training Day

The CLC Yarn Up and Training Day continues to be a valuable day for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander CLC Staff.  Participants share with the group the challenges and successes of their roles.  The group engages in the development of AAG policy and position statements, as well as receiving training and development opportunities.

 

‘Leadership Development’ is a standing item agenda, and at the last yarn up the group developed strategies to strengthen leadership skills.  A training/ information session was delivered by Dean Bell of knowmore. Dean informed the group of his and Glenda Stubbs’ roles with knowmore. The group discussed opportunities for Dean and Glenda to access the local networks the Yarn Up day participants are connected to.

 

Improving the capacity of CLCs to deliver culturally safe services for Aboriginal people continues to be a leading theme of Yarn-up discussions.

 

Aboriginal Family Law

The Aboriginal Family Law meeting is a relatively new standing item on the CLCNSW Quarterlies agenda.  This meeting is intended to provide support and resources to Community Legal Centres that are currently operating an Aboriginal Family Law (AFL) project.  The CLCNSW ALAP CDW is supporting the AFL and providing resources where possible.

 

Gilbert + Tobin have agreed to print 30 copies of Cheryl Orr’s practice manual, and CLCNSW will be sending out copies to interested Centres.

 

Aboriginal Employment Strategy and RAP

The Aboriginal Advisory Group and CLCNSW has revised and reprinted the Aboriginal Employment Strategy.  The CLCNSW board has approved the CLCNSW Reconciliation Action Plan; this will be distributed soon.

 

Aurora Internship Program

CLCs can apply to host interns from the Aurora program.

CLCNSW ALAP has, in the last two years, had 5 highly capable Aurora Project interns, who at the time were studying their 2nd year of law.  CLCNSW encourages all CLCs working with Aboriginal communities to consider engaging with the Aurora Project.  Most Aurora interns who are interested in working in CLCs are willing to travel to rural and remote locations.

 

Further information: Zachary Armytage, ALAP Community Development Worker, CLCNSW, phone (02) 9212 7333 or send an email

 

Accreditation Scheme

CLCs in NSW continue to make good progress with the National Accreditation Scheme.  To date 29 centres have prepared for and undergone a Site Visit by Regional Accreditation Coordinator (RAC), Meg Houston, based at CLCNSW. 

 

17 of these centres have been granted Accreditation and Certification by CLCNSW for a period of three years.  A fourth group of 7 centres was recently put forward for Certification.  Site Visit dates for the remaining centres have been confirmed and will be taking place before the end of the year.

 

The first group of centres to be certified has recently submitted their first 6 monthly progress reports on their Workplans.

 

Further information: Meg Houston, Regional Accreditation Coordinator, CLCNSW, phone (02) 9212 7333 or send an email

 

Advocacy and Human Rights

Visiting CLCs

The CLCNSW Advocacy & Human Rights Officer has been visiting CLCs to assist them with their law reform work. Meetings have occurred with the Arts Law Centre of Australia on their specific law reform work and Redfern Legal Centre on their tenancy law reform work. A meeting is also planned with Consumer Credit Legal Centre (NSW).  This is an opportunity to go through your law reform plans and discuss how to effectively engage parliamentarians in your law reform work. The CLCNSW Advocacy & Human Rights Officer is happy to visit your centre and assist you with your law reform work.

 

Foetal Personhood Bill

The CLCNSW Advocacy & Human Rights Officer has been working with Women’s Legal Services NSW, Women’s Health NSW, Family Planning NSW, the NSW Bar Association and Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia (formerly NSW Rape Crisis Centre) to oppose legislation giving legal personhood status to a 20-week-old foetus so that grievous bodily harm charges can be made against someone who destroys or harms a foetus as proceedings for grievous bodily harm to the foetus rather than proceedings for grievous bodily harm to the pregnant woman. CLCNSW has written to MPs expressing our concerns about the implications for women’s reproductive rights.

 

Funding principles

The CLCNSW Advocacy & Human Rights Officer has joined the CLCNSW Director and Chair to met with parliamentarians to brief them on our concerns regarding the funding principles.

 

Child protection legislative changes

The CLCNSW Advocacy & Human Rights Officer and the CLCNSW ALAP Community Development Worker have been working with the Care and Protection Working Group and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rights Working Group to prepare for an announcement on legislative changes to child protection in NSW.  Several CLCs made submissions to the Child Protection Discussion Paper released earlier this year and these submissions are informing the ongoing work of CLCNSW reading these reforms.

 

Further information: Kerry Nettle, locum Advocacy & Human Rights Officer, CLCNSW, phone (02) 9212 7333 or send an email

 

Sector Development

Training Needs Analysis

The 2013/14 TNA online survey was completed in July. There were over 30 responses from Centres and the feedback will help state office to respond to the Sector’s training and development needs in 2013/14.

 

Sector Development Guidelines

Guidelines developed by CLCNSW in conjunction with the Sector Development Subcommittee, and approved by the Board have been posted on the CLCNSW website under the Sector Development section. These explain how the program works to assist the sector, and how training and development needs are identified, selected and prioritised.

 

November 2013 Quarterlies & Venue

From November the regular quarterly events will be at a new venue – ACON (AIDS Council of NSW) at 414 Elizabeth Street.  As well as bringing costs savings, the venue also has a more flexible room arrangements, which will, if required, allow the Quarterlies to have a wider range of sessions running at the same time.

 

Management Training

A management training day is to be held on 25th November – the Monday before the Quarterlies.  The morning session will be a workshop on grants and funding applications, and the afternoon will cover people and performance management.

 

Practice Management Course 2013

The CLC PMC was held at the College of Law’s city campus in Elizabeth Street from 18-20 September, with the majority of the presenters coming from the sector.  There were 20 participants, with 15 being from CLCNSW member organisations, and others from organisations such as knowmore, ALS (WA) and SRC Legal (Sydney University).  Informal feedback during the course was very positive, and the state office will be liaising with the College to review the written feedback, and plan for 2014.

 

Further information: Contact CLCNSW clcnsw@clc.net.au or 9212 7333

 

9.         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 activities.

 

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 40 member organisations including generalist and specialist Community Legal Centres.

 

Further information:

Suite 805, Level 8

28 Foveaux Street

Surry Hills NSW 2010

Phone: (02) 9212 7333

Fax: (02) 9212 7332

Send an email

Website: www.clcnsw.org.au

Twitter: www.twitter.com/clcnsw

 

 

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