Media Release - 30 June 2015
Community Legal Centres NSW welcomes the news that the NSW Premier Mike Baird has today signed off on funding for Community Legal Centres for the next financial year.
‘Whilst we were welcomed by the certainty, this has been a difficult time for Community Legal Centres and those who rely on their services such as women escaping domestic violence, people who have been unfairly dismissed and tenants with unreasonable landlords,’ said Nassim Arrage, Chairperson, Community Legal Centres NSW and Principal Solicitor, Central Coast Community Legal Centre.
‘Community Legal Centres in NSW will not have to close their doors tomorrow, but the 25% reduction in funding for Community Legal Centres in NSW due to take effect in two years time means that less services will be available,’ said Mr Arrage.
‘Funding for Community Legal Centres in NSW now comes with the requirement that centres ask people how much they earn before offering legal help. Community Legal Centres want to help people so they don’t lose their job rather than say, you have a job so we can’t help you,’ said Mr Arrage.
‘Community Legal Centres are worried that this new means testing requirement will mean staff have to spend time grilling people about their income rather than giving them legal help,’ said Mr Arrage.
‘The requirement for restrictive financial testing will mean staff have to spend time grilling people about their income rather than giving them legal help. Centres will need to offer less services to divert staff from giving advice to asking income levels,’ said Mr Arrage.