Policy Focus

 
Wed, 12/02/2020 - 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, 12/01/2020 - 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, 11/26/2020 - 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, 08/12/2020 - 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, 06/15/2020 - 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, 04/30/2020 - 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.
Wed, 03/25/2020 - 15:03
It sounds preposterous – given the ongoing climate crisis and recent bushfire emergency besieging communities across the state – but the NSW Government is actually proposing to restrict consideration of greenhouse gas emissions and prevent decision-makers from putting conditions on fossil fuel approvals relating to their downstream emissions. This article looks at two current threats to the way greenhouse gas emissions and climate change are currently considered in fossil fuel development assessments in NSW.
Thu, 02/20/2020 - 12:04
After six official insurance catastrophes in five months, decisive action by Australian governments to implement long-term policy reforms in home insurance is long overdue. With serious weather events predicted to be more frequent and more intense as climate change progresses, the need for these reforms is now more urgent than ever.
Wed, 12/11/2019 - 16:21
 Despite a plethora of inquiries into family law over the past ten years, insufficient action has been taken to protect the safety of children, young people and adult survivors of family violence. With nearly 70% of cases in family courts involving allegations of family violence, the need for urgent action is greater than ever. In this article, Liz Snell from Women’s Legal Service NSW (who is also a member of Women’s Legal Services Australia’s Co-ordinating Committee) reflects on recent inquiries into the family law system and the Government’s proposed family court merger.
Wed, 12/11/2019 - 09:46
After many decades of advocacy, 2019 finally saw the NSW Parliament decriminalise abortion. Abortion will now be treated as a healthcare matter, not a crime. Human Rights Law Centre Legal Director Edwina MacDonald reflects on a campaign 50 years in the making, crossing generational and partisan lines.
Thu, 11/07/2019 - 11:34
In this article, Alastair Lawyer (Public Interest Advocacy Centre) sets out some of the key concerns with the draft Religious Discrimination Bill, arguing that instead of reducing discrimination, it encourages religious individuals and organisations to discriminate against others, including women, LGBTI people, single parents, people in de facto relationships, divorced people, and people with disability.
Tue, 10/01/2019 - 12:38
 New South Wales has a strip-search problem. And now the evidence is in. Redfern Legal Centre has released a report, Rethinking Strip Searches by NSW Police. Commissioned by RLC and prepared by Dr Michael Grewcock and Dr Vicki Sentas from the University of UNSW Law School, it proposes modest but critical amendments to strip search laws.
Thu, 09/26/2019 - 16:32
Protest and community action have long been a part of community legal centre history and, indeed, without this form of advocacy, they would not exist. With the current climate crisis and the growing need for civil disobedience, the time for lawyers to build bridges with activists has never been more vital. Given its own foundations in protest, the community legal sector can make a valuable contribution.