Advocacy & Law Reform

 

Community Legal Centres NSW coordinates cohesive advocacy, communications and law reform strategies on a number of law reform priorities on behalf of the sector.

We also support member community legal centres in these areas through Quarterlies training sessions, the Law Reform and Policy Network, the Technology and Communications Network, and regular updates in our fortnightly e-newsletter, Off The Record.

Community Legal Centres NSW advises, supports and takes part in advocacy campaigns and activities of member organisations and related organisations, for example being part of the Make Renting Fair network and supporting Just Reinvest NSW.

Community Legal Centres NSW compiles law reform submissions to relevant law reform inquiries in consultation with member centres, and also encourages member centres to make their own submissions. For more information relating to law reform inquiries, click here.

The current law reform priorities for the sector are: 

  1. Abortion law reform

Including the promotion of safe access zones outside reproductive health clinics, removing abortion from the crimes act and including abortion in the PBS.

  1. Amendments to the births, deaths and marriages registration act

To make it easier for trans people and members of the Stolen Generations to change their names, or the names of their parents and grandparents.

  1. Culturally safe mediation services

Provide funding and training for the provision of culturally safe mediation services for Aboriginal people and communities, particularly in South East NSW.

  1. Fairer laws for people with debts

Amend practices around debt recovery to ensure that people facing hard times are not further impacted by the system, including garnishing order notifications and defaulting suspensions.

  1. Justice for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault

Extending the time permitted for documents to be submitted for victim compensation payments and increasing recognition payments.

  1. Increasing access to justice for renters

Ending the practice of landlords being able to evict tenants without cause, including people living in rented homes, boarding houses, residential parks and international student accommodation.

  1. Introducing a human rights framework for NSW

Enshrining basic and essential human rights in a formal framework, to inform legislation, policy and public education.

  1. Reforming the child protection system

Working towards the aim of keeping children with their families, and in their communities, by providing early and ongoing support and legal assistance to parents, relatives and children through all stages of the process.

  1. Reduce the incarceration rates of Aboriginal people

Through implementation of the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s 2018 Pathways to Justice report, including reforms to the Bail Act, raising the criminal age of responsibility and adopting a justice reinvestment approach to the criminal justice system.

  1. Improve laws regarding people with cognitive disabilities

Changing the relationship of people with cognitive disabilities and the courts, particularly in relation to the imprisonment of people who are deemed unfit to plead, and whether people with apprehended violence orders are able to fully understand the conditions of the AVO.

 

2018 Law Reform Activities

Community Legal Centres NSW has begun advocating for change in these areas, including:

  • Advocating for the implementation of the ALRC Pathways to Justice Report, including through sitting on the Strategic Directions Committee of Just Reinvest NSW
  • Working with the Minister for Finance, Services & Property, and Revenue NSW on amendments to the State Debt Recovery Bill 2018 and debt recovery guidelines
  • Supporting the Public Health Amendment (Safe Access to Reproductive Health Clinics) Bill 2018 publicly and in correspondence with NSW MLCs
  • Participating in the steering group of the Make Renting Fair and Every Child campaigns
  • Making submissions to the ALRC review of the Family Law System and NSW Law Reform Commission review into Laws regarding Consent. 

Over the coming months CLCNSW will work with our member organisations to:

  • Advocate to government for amendments to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act
  • Gather relevant information and statistics via the NSW Budget Estimates process
  • Develop a sector-wide election platform, including for increased community legal funding in key areas.
  • Support community legal centres to proactively and constructively engage in law reform
  • Engage with stakeholders in public and community sectors around these issues
  • Seek support for these areas of reform from government and other decision-makers in the lead up to the 2019 NSW state election
  • Where appropriate, advocating and raising awareness these issues publicly

More information:

Mark Riboldi - email
Advocacy & Communications Manager
Community Legal Centres NSW