State Office Update December 2010
State Office Update
This is the December 2010 edition of the State Office Update. These Updates come out three times a year. We ask CLC Coordinators and Directors to forward this Update to all staff, and also to your Management Committees, as the information is a useful overview of what the state office of Community Legal Centres NSW (CLCNSW) is currently doing.
For more information on CLCNSW visit: www.clcnsw.org.au
Holiday wishes from CLCNSW
On behalf of the Board and staff of CLCNSW, I wish all staff and volunteers of our member CLCs a safe and relaxing holiday break. Thank you for your support of CLCNSW during 2010. We look forward to working with you and the justice sector in 2011.
Alastair McEwin, Director, CLCNSW
Aboriginal Legal Access Program
New ALAP Community Development Worker
In September we welcomed Ms Lee Atkinson to the role of ALAP Community Development Worker. Lee, who is from the Toowoomba (Queensland) region, comes to CLCNSW with a strong background in Aboriginal community development work. She has held roles with Queensland Health, Ageing Disability & Home Care, and the Sydney Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council.
Workshop with ALAP workers
Within weeks of commencing at CLCNSW, Lee met with CLC ALAP workers and their managers from around NSW to review progress of CLC Aboriginal Legal Access programs and to undertake planning for the 2010/11 year and onwards. The workshop was held over 3 days in Ballina on the Far North Coast. It was an opportunity for the workers to take a critical look at progress of the ALAP since its commencement in 2006. A range of actions were developed during the workshop, many of which Lee has undertaken and completed since returning to the office.
A significant action item was the development of a longer-term ‘strategic directions’ proposal for which funding from sources other than the PPF will be sought. One of the primary issues that was identified by workshop participants was the need to secure greater ongoing funding to support Aboriginal programs within CLCs. The participants supported a proposal to engage a consultant to develop a case and funding model to enable CLCNSW to seek additional and more secure funding from alternative sources to the PPF. This proposal will include research into current met and unmet legal needs of Aboriginal people and communities.
Review of ALAP
ALAP is funded solely by the Public Purpose Fund (PPF), with current funding due to end 30 June 2011. Legal Aid NSW has commenced a review of ALAP, with a focus on reporting back to the PPF and, if appropriate, seeking a further two years of funding for ALAP.
This review is limited to the current ALAP projects at CLCNSW, Hawkesbury Nepean CLC, Northern Rivers CLC, Shoalcoast CLC, Macarthur Legal Centre and Illawarra Legal Centre. This review does not encompass other initiatives to improve services for Aboriginal people that fall outside the ‘ALAP banner’.
Lee is assisting the appointed consultant, Tim Leach, with the review and looks forward to working cooperatively with Legal Aid NSW to provide further evidence and materials to demonstrate to the PPF the need for ongoing funding of ALAP.
Promoting CLC access to Aboriginal communities
Lee has developed a set of promotional materials which will be targeted to Aboriginal people and communities around NSW. The materials, which include brochures and a poster, will encourage Aboriginal people to contact their local CLC to discuss legal issues.
These materials will be distributed to CLCs and other stakeholders in January.
Further information: Lee Atkinson, ALAP CDW, firstname.lastname@example.org
Advocacy & Human Rights Program
Current / Upcoming Issues
Resulting from a discussion in the November meeting of the Domestic Violence / Victims Compensation Committee, CLCNSW is calling on the NSW Attorney General to delay the commencement of certain amendments to the Victims Support and Rehabilitation Act (which will detrimentally affect claimants for victims compensation, particularly victims of domestic violence and child sexual assault). CLCNSW has written to the Attorney General, key opposition figures, members of the Victims Advisory Board, and other community organisations.
CLCNSW will be writing to the Prime Minister, congratulating the Government on starting the process and public dialogue in relation to Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In the new year, CLCNSW (with the Aboriginal Legal Access Program, and the Advocacy and Human Rights Program) hopes to work with CLCs to raise community awareness and encourage participation in the process of Constitutional reform.
Forum for Members of Parliament
On 10 November CLCNSW held a forum for MPs and staffers at NSW Parliament House, to raise awareness of the work of community legal centres. We highlighted funding issues and law reform issues, as well as showcasing a CLE project for carers in South West Sydney, and issues affecting legal centres in Remote, Rural and Regional areas.
We hope that this raised awareness of CLCs amongst NSW MPs, particularly in the lead up to the 2011 state election.
Short submissions were made to:
· The Draft Civil Procedure Amendment (Supreme Court Representative Proceedings) Bill; and
· The Australian Public Service Values
CLCNSW supported the NCOSS campaign calling on the NSW Liberal / National Coalition to announce support, prior to the March 2011 state election, for reforms and enhancements to the NSW child protection system.
In August CLCNSW wrote to various NSW MPs calling on them to support the Adoption Amendment (Same-Sex Couples) Bill (which has now become law).
CLCNSW provided support to CLCs working on submissions to the NSW Law Reform Commission inquiry into Penalty Notices.
Police Complaint reform project
The Police Accountability Project is continuing. Recent developments include:
· A meeting was held with other interested organisations and the ‘NSW Police Accountability Network’ was formed to share information and ideas.
· A survey of solicitors’ perceptions and experiences in relation to the police complaints system is being developed with an academic from Charles Sturt University. It will be circulated in early 2011 and we ask all solicitors to complete the online survey (whether or not you have assisted a client with a police complaint).
· We submitted a new GIPA Access to Information request for the police handling guidelines. This was refused and PIAC has now agreed to pursue this with the Office of Information Commissioner.
Law Reform / Advocacy content on the CLCNSW website
Information is gradually being added to the Law Reform page(s) on the CLCNSW website. The latest additions are a page on media skills, providing resources on a whole range of media-related topics, and some information about UN human rights recommendations and complaints mechanisms.
Please check out the page, and let Roxana know of any additional law reform / advocacy resources or topics you would like to see on the website.
Roxana Zulfacar, Advocacy & Human Rights Officer, Roxana_Zulfacar@clc.net.au
Learning & Development Program
Evaluation of Learning & Development Program
The evaluation of the Learning and Development Program is progressing with many CLC staff participating in the evaluation through interviews or the online survey. It is intended that the final report, due at the end of January, will form part of CLCNSW’s submission for ongoing funding of the L&D program beyond 30 June 2011.
We would like to thank all CLC staff that completed either an interview or the survey as their feedback has been an invaluable resource for the evaluation and in turn submission for ongoing funding.
As part of this evaluation process, the Board’s L&D sub committee met on 9 December to undertake planning for future L&D activities.
CLC Practice Management Course (PMC)
The CLCNSW L&D program worked in partnership with the College of Law to design and deliver the first CLC-specific PMC for staff of CLCs. 20 staff members participated in the course where many presenters were from the CLC sector themselves.
The feedback to this pilot course was very positive and is scheduled to run again in June 2011.
The November Quarterlies saw some great L&D opportunities including training in Suicide Prevention, Policy writing, and Election Skills amongst other sessions and workshops. The Quarterlies were then followed by a Management Training Day with 'Effective Performance Management" as the topic of the day and also a Legal training Day covering all 3 MCLE areas and an update on Social Security Law.
Upcoming L&D opportunities
The February Quarterlies (21st and 22nd February 2011) will see new L&D opportunities come in, such as Financial Management training, DV Training, and Prisoners Rights Torture Optional Protocol training amongst others.
The Management and Legal Training day following the Quarterlies (Wednesday 23rd February) will be based on the topic of 'Team Building' (for Management) and a repeat of the 3 MCLE areas covered in the Legal Training Day in December as well as a session on Evidence Law (Hearsay rule) and Drafting Affidavits.
There will also be Community Education Training on 23 and 24 February which is training run in partnership with the Tenants' Union.
National Rural Regional Law and Justice Conference
This was held 19-21 November 2010 in Warrnambool, Victoria and attended by L&D Coordinator, Joanna Mantziaris. The conference was the result of a growing awareness that regional, rural and remote Australians continue to be disadvantaged in accessing the law and justice system services. This has significant implications for those communities and their economies.
The conference was a unique event, bringing together over 100 delegates from all States and Territories, representing 60 organisations across industry, government, welfare/support services, universities, the legal profession and the judicial services.
The principal aim of the conference was to share issues, ideas and solutions across the three conference themes - Social Justice Issues, Practitioner Issues and Justice System Services. A number of common threads existed through the conference presentations, including the Chief Justice’s opening address, keynote speakers’ addresses and many of the 21 papers presented.
Joanna presented a paper on the "Legal Professional Development in Regional, Rural and Remote NSW: Challenges and opportunities in the Community Legal Sector".
The Conference Resolutions were:
· To establish a National Rural Law and Justice Alliance (proposed to be modelled on the National Rural Health Alliance) and the forming of a working group of conference delegates to work towards this end.
· To develop and promote a Mission Statement ‘The Warrnambool Declaration’ on Equal Access to Justice for regional Australia.
· To formally request a meeting with The Hon Simon Crean MP, Minister for Regional Australia and/or The Hon Robert McClelland MP, Attorney General, to discuss issues presented at the conference and to establish mechanism for ongoing dialogue.
· To initiate and support initiatives to improve and sustain regional legal practice.
· To elicit greater government buy-in to research and evaluations of existing justice system programs to ensure more relevant policy reform on issues of law and justice in regional, rural and remote Australia.
On The Record September and December 2010 editions
In September and December 2010, the 12th and 13th editions of On the Record (OTR) were sent out to subscribers. If you haven’t read these editions you can link to them from the CLCNSW website: www.clcnsw.org.au/publications
Please email stories and reports about developments in your centre to Alastair McEwin at the State Office on email Alastair_McEwin@clc.net.auand these will be included in the next edition of OTR. Deadline for contributions for the next edition is 29 March 2011.
Please also direct interested people to our website to subscribe to OTR, or send email addresses to Julian Laurens to add to the database.
Julian Laurens, email: email@example.com
Following are 2011 dates for key CLCNSW and sector events.
Please let the State Office know if there are other dates for other meetings or events and we will include this in the Events calendar on the CLCNSW website.
21 – 22 February 2011
16 – 17 May 2011
15 – 16 August 2011
28 – 29 November 2011
Marque Hotel, 803 George Street (corner Quay St), Central
17 – 21 October 2011
NACLC National Conference
State office staff and contact details
The current staff at the State Office are:
Alastair McEwin, Director
Julian Laurens, Administrator
Lee, Atkinson, ALAP Community Development Worker
Roxana Zulfacar, Advocacy and Human Rights Officer
Norico Allen, Finance Officer
Joanna Mantziaris, Learning and Development Coordinator
CLCNSW is the peak body for CLCs in NSW. It is resourced by a small State Office which is funded by the NSW Government and Public Purpose Fund. CLCNSW has 39 member organisations including generalist and specialist community legal centres.
The State Office is located at:
C17/ 99 Jones St
Ultimo NSW 2007
Ph: (02) 9212 7333
Fax: (02) 9212 7332