Ensure people with disability have free legal advice


Media Release - 3 December 2015

Today, as we celebrate International Day of People with Disability, the Federal Government can demonstrate its commitment through continuing to invest in free legal help for people with disability, says Community Legal Centres NSW (CLCNSW)

‘A large proportion of Community Legal Centre (CLC) clients have a disability (Over the last 2 years in NSW 21% of CLC clients reported a disability). CLCs need to be adequately funded to provide legal support to people with disability’, said Alastair McEwin, Executive Director of Community Legal Centres NSW (CLCNSW). ‘Research by the NSW Law and Justice Foundation showed that people with a disability are twice as likely to experience legal problems than others in the community’.

‘In July this year, the Commonwealth Government locked in funding cuts of 25% for Community Legal Centres in NSW, which will hit services in from July 2017. Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash, said cuts to Community Legal Centres funding would be looked at as part of the MYEFO and budgetary processes’, said Mr McEwin.

‘Will the Federal Government commit to concrete actions to assist people with disabilities? MYEFO is an opportunity to demonstrate that the federal government is serious about this issue,’ said Mr McEwin. ‘If it proceeds with these cuts, the Federal Government is effectively turning people with disabilities away from legal help.’

‘In 2013/14, 22 NSW CLCs reported that they had turned away a total of 6,934 people in because they could not assist them or provide them with a suitable referral. The federal government can ensure that people with disability can access free legal advice by giving Community Legal Centres the funding they need to help’, concluded Mr McEwin.