Policy and 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.

Law Reform Bulletin

Community Legal Centres NSW publishes a monthly email newsletter, Law Reform Bulletin, covering all things law reform for people working and interested in policy and law reform in NSW.

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Latest policy and law reform updates

Below is a list of our latest policy and law reform articles, including submission briefings and policy analysis.

Wed, 30/06/2021 - 14:14
A recent report by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research concluded that there was no significant spike in domestic violence during COVID lockdowns. However, community legal centres say that crime data fails to capture the whole picture.
Wed, 10/02/2021 - 10:10
 Drug reform has emerged as one of the most vital, yet contentious, policy areas of our time. In this edition of The Law Reform Bulletin, we peel back the sensationalist headlines and listen to the diverse perspectives of experts in community law, restorative justice and harm-reduction. What emerges is an overwhelming view that while law enforcement is the government's primary response to drug use, we need to be pursuing evidence-based policies like decriminalisation. The health and safety of our communities depend on a future where holistic, caring and healing approaches to drug use are the norm.
Wed, 10/02/2021 - 09:54
 Fair Treatment is a public advocacy campaign led by Uniting NSW-ACT for the better resourcing of evidence-based harm reduction strategies, and the decriminalisation (removal of court processing and criminal penalties including jail terms) of personal use of small quantities of currently illicit drugs. In this article, Stafford Sanders proposes that we need to rethink our approach to drug policy and learn from worldwide best practice, such as the Portugal model of decriminalisation.
Wed, 10/02/2021 - 09:47
 In the last 12 years, there has been an almost twentyfold increase in strip searches in New South Wales. This harmful proactive policing practice is disproportionately targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and young people, particularly in lower socio-economic areas and regional towns. In this article, Sam Lee advocates for strip search laws to be amended alongside other proposed changes to minor drug possession laws.
Wed, 10/02/2021 - 09:20
In this article, Rhys Evans looks back to the harm-reduction practices developed during the HIV epidemic which continue to save many lives, and how these programs might inform a pathway for evidence-based drug policy.
Tue, 09/02/2021 - 17:23
 In this article, Stuart Munckton shares how people with lived experience of drug use in NSW are paving the way in developing and implementing effective harm reduction measures. When it comes to user's rights, ending the criminalisation of drug use would be the single biggest measure to reduce the harms associated with drug use.
Tue, 09/02/2021 - 17:11
 Living in remote, regional and rural areas can often mean being geographically isolated from vital drug support services. In this article, Patrick O'Callaghan shares how things are changing in Dubbo, and where's next for localised drug support and reform.
Tue, 09/02/2021 - 16:46
 In this article, Thea Deakin-Greenwood reflects on the links between substance use and complex trauma. Rather than continuing to punish drug use through criminalisation, which can exacerbate the ongoing impacts of trauma on peoples’ lives, restorative justice approaches can respond to harm and trauma through care.
Wed, 02/12/2020 - 11:01
 Early on in the COVID-19 health crisis, as the first cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Australia and its seriousness became clearer, we knew the pandemic would have an impact on everyone across our communities, but renting households would be particularly vulnerable. Many renters work in sectors that were immediately hard hit by the pandemic such as retail, hospitality, tourism, and the tertiary education sector. They are generally more likely to be in casual or otherwise precarious work situations. And their housing, not only unaffordable before the crisis, is also, always insecure.
Tue, 01/12/2020 - 09:48
The gambling industry in New South Wales, particularly the poker machine sector, is extremely influential. In this article, Kate Da Costa from the Alliance for Gambling Reform examines a proposed reform that will change the gambling exclusion system in the state. The reforms ensure that people, often those who are most profitable to venues, are better supported when they seek to stay away from poker machines.
Thu, 26/11/2020 - 12:07
The impact of COVID-19 – and the public health response to it – on communities and workplaces has been harsh. It is also becoming increasingly clear that the crisis is worsening class, racial and gender inequalities. These impacts including disproportionate job insecurity, significantly increased childcare responsibilities, unsafe working conditions, women are already bearing the brunt of the pandemic’s negative impacts and will continue to do so long into the future.
Wed, 12/08/2020 - 15:38
 Up to 70% of domestic violence victims-survivors report abuse of a companion or other animal by the perpetrator. Currently, laws in New South Wales (NSW) do not adequately protect human or animal victims-survivors of family violence. However, some NSW parliamentarians are in the mood for change. In this article the Animal Defenders Office considers options for reform to provide greater protection to those suffering abuse and domestic violence, both human and animal.
Mon, 15/06/2020 - 17:06
The economic effects of COVID-19 have already been devastating, but the worst may be yet to come as aftershocks ripple through the country in the coming months. This will likely be particularly devastating for people who need support from the social security system.
Thu, 30/04/2020 - 08:26
This article highlights some of the particular challenges the COVID-19 pandemic crisis presents for migrant workers, arguing that extending supports to these workers is not only key to ensuring they do not fall between the cracks but also to helping the nation’s economic recovery.
Tue, 04/05/2021 - 11:11
Community legal centres provide free legal support to people going through tough times, mostly those experiencing financial hardship, social disadvantage, domestic or family violence or discrimination.
Tue, 06/04/2021 - 12:16
It is vital that everyone in New South Wales can access the community legal help that they need. That's why our 2021 Pre-Budget Submission focuses on ensuring equal access to justice for everyone in NSW. We're calling on the NSW Government to provide community legal centres with adequate funding so that we are able to help our communities facing financial hardship, disadvantage, discrimination, natural disasters, and domestic and family violence.
Wed, 31/03/2021 - 12:50
Community Legal Centres recommends the Committee rejects this Bill in its entirety. If passed, the Bill would deny children in our community the right to be seen, to be protected from discrimination and harm, and to be treated with integrity by teachers and schools.
Thu, 29/08/2019 - 14:08
On Thursday 29 August 2019, Community Legal Centres NSW received correspondence from Legal Aid NSW that the government agency was cutting funding from the CLC Care Partners Program, effective from the end of October. This decision has the potential to leave families with complex needs without the help and support required to keep their kids safe at home.
Wed, 17/04/2019 - 16:25
 The final make-up of the NSW upper house was determined on Monday, 15 April when the NSW Electoral Commission ‘pressed the button’ to allocate final preferences. Community Legal Centre NSW's Advocacy & Communications Manager Mark Riboldi examines what the new Upper House means for the community legal sector.
Mon, 08/04/2019 - 15:56
 A summary of Community Legal Centres NSW's submission to the Their Futures Matter Consultation (2019).
Wed, 03/04/2019 - 17:05
 In this article, Community Legal Centres NSW's Mark Riboldi unpacks the 2019 NSW Election and what it means for the community legal sector.
Thu, 14/02/2019 - 12:15
Improving access to justice for victim-survivors of sexual assault and eradicating discriminatory structural power imbalances that allow offenders to commit sexual assault with no repercussions are at the heart of twelve important recommendations made by Community Legal Centres NSW to the current NSW Law Reform Commission inquiry into consent in relation to sexual offences.
Tue, 20/11/2018 - 12:26
 A summary of our joint submission to the Inquiry on Legislative exemptions that allow faith-based educational institutions to discriminate against students, teachers and staff
Wed, 07/11/2018 - 13:12
 An overview of the problems with the proposed Children & Young Persons (Care and Protection) Amendment Bill 2018.
Thu, 19/04/2018 - 14:14
 A summary of our submission into the review of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2018 (NSW).
Thu, 07/12/2017 - 13:39
Issues surrounding the rates of children being placed in out of home care is a pressing concern, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
Mon, 09/10/2017 - 11:39
Community Legal Centres NSW's submission to the Law Council of Australia's Justice Project.