Community Legal Centres NSW (CLCNSW) recognises that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples face significant barriers in access to justice. The second CLCNSW Reconciliation Action Plan (the RAP) has been developed to build on our previous work, and to provide our organisation and our member community legal centres (CLCs) with a clear plan to develop and implement strategies that will enable us to address these barriers as they relate to our work.
CLCs have a history of striving for a fair and just society for all, particularly for those who are most vulnerable and disadvantaged. We are committed to working alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities to assist in the development of social and legal rights for all.
The growth and maintenance of strong relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other CLC staff within the CLC sector symbolically and practically represents the relationships at large between Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities and community legal centres throughout NSW. CLCNSW is committed to supporting CLCs to employ and retain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, as well as maintaining and increasing meaningful engagement between CLCs and their local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The Reconciliation Action Plan acknowledges the importance of developing strong effective relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to inform the services delivered by CLCs. The RAP demonstrates our commitment to the bringing together of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their cultures and a broader community understanding in every aspect of the RAP.
We are committed to ensuring that the perspectives, values, and experiences of CLC staff, clients, and stakeholders are valued, respected, and acknowledged in all levels of service delivery for CLCs. As a legal sector, our written policies, and the practices that follow, should enshrine our shared values and achievable goals. In conjunction with our existing Aboriginal Employment Strategy, we continue, through this RAP, to be committed to providing real and meaningful employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at all levels of service delivery. The RAP outlines measurable targets, including how we will report on achievements to our sector and stakeholders.
This is an exciting and challenging period for our communities and our sector. We look forward to the journey ahead as we build stronger relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities around New South Wales to work to achieve access to justice for all.
Katrina Ironside, Chairperson
Our Vision for Reconciliation
Community Legal Centres NSW Inc. (CLCNSW) vision for reconciliation is to address barriers in access to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through supporting, resourcing, and where appropriate, leading the Community Legal Centre sector in NSW, thereby contributing to increase community strength and resilience, and reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the justice system.
CLCNSW recognises, respects and values Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures. CLCNSW endeavours to carry out, in a responsible way, its role in delivering access to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We aim to develop strategies that meet the specific needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in NSW. In collaboration with local service providers the CLCNSW Aboriginal Advisory Group assists in informing and guiding the work undertaken by CLCNSW for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations in NSW.
Community Legal Centres NSW Inc. (CLCNSW) is the peak body for all community legal centres (CLCs) in NSW. We are a not-for-profit, member driven association, funded predominantly by the NSW Government, with funding administered by Legal Aid NSW. CLCNSW provides support to, and representation for, our member Centres, in government and community forums.
CLCNSW itself does not provide le gal advice to members of the public. The office is able to assist those seeking legal advice by referrals to an appropriate legal service provider.
CLCNSW is part of a state national network of Community Legal Centres, all of which aim to promote an agenda of social justice, and to work towards fairer legal and social outcomes for those most vulnerable in our community.
As of November 2017, CLCNSW employs a total of nine staff, including one Aboriginal staff member. CLCNSW also has a volunteer program whereby volunteers assist with the Aboriginal Legal Access Program (ALAP) (in partnership with the Aurora Program) and assist with administrative tasks in our office. These staff are based out of our office in Sydney.
The CLCNSW Board is a skills-based board consisting of seven members, and includes a representative of the CLCNSW Aboriginal Advisory Group (AAG). The membership of the AAG consists of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff from the 38 community legal centres (CLCs) across NSW. These CLCs are located across the state. Specialist services with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff are located in the Sydney metropolitan area, some of which provide state-wide services. They are: Warringa Baiya, the Tenants Union NSW, Women’s Legal Services NSW, Arts Law Centre of Australia, Financial Rights Legal Centre, Justice Connect, and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. The generalist centres with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff are located at Lismore, Central Coast, Windsor, Liverpool, Nowra, Campbelltown, Moree, and the Sydney metropolitan area.