Palaszczuk Govt announces funding for community legal centres

newsQueensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Yvette D’Ath (pictured below), has announced $51.3 million in State and Commonwealth funding for Queensland’s vital community legal centres.

36 community services have been successful in securing funding for the next three years, starting from July 1.

But the Attorney-General warned that despite Queensland boosting its contribution, there was still a funding shortfall because of the Turnbull Government’s decision to slash $2 million from Queensland’s services.

“The Palaszczuk Government is now covering 60% of the costs of providing these vital services,” Mrs D’Ath said.dath-ag

“In its proposed cuts, the Turnbull Government has turned its back on our most vulnerable because the funding shortfall will mean thousands of people across Queensland will be turned away from Community Legal Centres.

“These centres need funding certainty to continue to do their valuable work.

“I call on the Turnbull Government to reverse the cuts that are proposed to come into effect on July 1.”

Mrs D’Ath said the Palaszczuk Government’s portion of the allocated funding to Community Legal Centres would increase every year over the next three years, but that would not stop the impacts these centres will feel from the Federal Government’s ‘funding cliff’.

“The Palaszczuk Government will continue its contribution in funding Community Legal Centres, because we understand how vital they are,” she said.

“However, we will see cuts to real funding occurring in this funding round due to the Commonwealth cuts.

“Under the new funding allocation for the next three years, the LGBTI Legal Service will receive funding for the first time, to help implement our government’s significant reforms for the LGBTI community.

“The Women’s Legal Service will receive an extra $100,000 from the Palaszczuk Government to run its Help Line, in addition to receiving $3.6 million over the next three years.

“The two Queensland Environmental Defenders Offices, which had all their funding stripped by the LNP Government, will receive $600,000.

“The Gold Coast Community Legal Centre and Advice Bureau receives an extra $105,000 a year, taking their funding up to $2.5 million.

“And the North Queensland Women’s Legal Service receives $2.4 million for its vital services in Townsville and Cairns.”

The Caxton Legal Centre has also been allocated $4.8 million over the next three years to continue delivering services, including assisting those involved in Domestic and Family Violence matters.

Mrs D’Ath said the Palaszczuk Government had worked in partnership with the sector’s peak body, Community Legal Centres Queensland, to develop an evidence-based approach to funding allocations.

Mrs D’Ath said she was pleased with the high quality of applications received and the value-for-money of the proposals set out in the applications.

“I thank Community Legal Centres Queensland for their invaluable support to applicants throughout the application process.”

Mrs D’Ath also expressed her gratitude to the legal assistance services sector, both funded and un-funded, acknowledging the dedication and hard work of those working in the sector.

“Thank you to all involved in the delivery of such valuable services to vulnerable Queenslanders.”

The Commonwealth funding allocated through this process is allocated to Queensland CLCs under the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services 2015-20.

Turnbull’s 18c attack: ‘Not what Australia is about’

A quick word

I can see why many Australians think the Coalition’s obsession with watering-down the Racial Discrimination Act is simply irrelevant.

Watering-down section 18C won’t create jobs, train apprentices, re-open TAFEs or help teachers in our schools.

It won’t make seeing the doctor cheaper, the NBN faster or solve the gas emergency we have right now in manufacturing.

But the one thing this change will do is make it easier for people to be insulted or humiliated on the basis of race.

I do concede this government has someone with a sense of humour to choose Harmony Day to weaken protections against racism.

But they have never been able to answer one simple question: What insult do they want people to be able to say that they cannot say now?

Now, I understand it is possible to consider watering-down these laws if you never know what discrimination is like.

Just like it’s easy for the Prime Minister to support cutting penalty rates, because he doesn’t know anyone who relies on them.

It’s easy to dismiss a hurt you won’t feel. It’s easy to weaken a protection you’ll never need. But that’s not leadership. That’s not what Australia is about.

The only two cases the Prime Minister held up as his rationale could both have been addressed by improving the process – not by changing the law. This isn’t about free speech; it’s about the Prime Minister appeasing his party.

How much more will Australia throw overboard to save one man’s job? Labor will never support the right to be a bigot.”

Hon Bill Shorten MP