Community Legal Centres Queensland
Quarterly Newsletter | June 2020
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<<First Name>>,  what a couple of months it has been at Community Legal Centres Queensland:

Before launching into our current quarterly update, Community Legal Centres Queensland would like to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which we are located, the land of the Turrbal and Jagera people. We extend our deepest respect to Elders past and present, and warmly welcome any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues and peers who are catching up on sector news today. 

The Queensland Government announced five-year State and Federal funding allocations for Queensland Community Legal Centres. The five-year commitment will provide certainty for legal services for vulnerable and disadvantaged Queenslanders, however it won’t meet the ongoing demand for services that have been exacerbated by the social and economic impacts of COVID-19. Community Legal Centres Queensland will continue to work with the Queensland Government about the newly announced funding for legal assistance services by the Federal government to respond to the legal need arising from COVID-19.
We welcomed a new member, Aged and Disability Advocacy (ADA) Australia. ADA Australia has worked closely with Queensland Community Legal Centres over many years so we look forward to deepening those connections
Despite the challenges COVID-19 has presented, Queensland Community Legal Centres have been extremely agile and flexible to maintain continuity of vital services for the community while undergoing a rapid digital transformation. Community Legal Centres have indicated that many of the changes implemented in the shift to remote working practices are working well, with over 80% looking to integrate these technologies, systems and practices into long-term operations and service delivery.

We have supported 12 Community Legal Centres to enhance cultural safety in their organisations.
Congratulations to the many staff who received awards for their contributions to the sector. This included Lawyers Weekly’s 30 under 30 community legal awards. The recipients were: 
• Finalist: Ben Tuckett, LawRight 
• Finalist: Keertan Samra, Women’s Legal Service 
• Winner: Tanya Diessel, Gold Coast CLC 
The COVID-19 lockdown has had some impact on our accreditation work, but we have still been able to accredit Goondiwindi Community Legal Service, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Legal Service North Queensland and Taylor Street Community Legal Service (Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre) in recent weeks. We have held a number of ‘Pre Site Visit’ meetings to help centres prepare for their upcoming accreditation reviews, and over the coming months will be benefiting from some of Community Legal Centres Australia learnings around conducting site visits ‘remotely’ to ensure we can keep the accreditation schedule moving.
We planned the State conference and then rescheduled the event for November.
After launching our ‘Digital Strategy Paper’ earlier this year, we have now rolled out 16 practical Digital Strategy Resources, including policies, guidelines and checklists to help centres build their digital capacity. This has been essential to bridging the digital divide during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Digital Strategy Implementation Working Group has been meeting monthly to ensure CLCs are well equipped to keep their services running so they can continue to support clients in need.
We are eagerly awaiting the passing of the Portable Long Service Leave legislation for the community services industry in Queensland. This scheme will allow Community Legal Centre workers to take their long service leave accruals with them to new employers within the sector and is due to commence in July 2020. Watch this space!

As we come to the end of Reconciliation Week, Community Legal Centres Queensland would also like to share with you this incredibly timely, honest and heartfelt piece written by a member of the Community Legal Centres Queensland team, Sector Sustainability Coordinator and proud Gumbaynggirr woman, Sam Cooper. Thank you Sam!  

Please check out some of our members' achievements below and thanks for your continuing support.

The team at Community Legal Centres Queensland
Caxton Legal Centre's advice services have been adapted to assist people impacted by the pandemic. This includes an increased number of domestic violence and employment law services, as well as additional family law appointments for families negotiating short-term changes to parenting orders during COVID-19. They have also published a number of legal information videos and factsheets related to COVID-19. 

Youth Advocacy Centre has produced some excellent practice guides for working with LGBTQIAP+ and Sistergirl and Brotherboy Young People. To view these go here

They have also produced COVID-19 Legal Information factsheets for young people.
In the lead-up to World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Caxton Legal Centre has conducted a social media campaign profiling the heightened risk of elder abuse that is caused by isolation.

Caxton CEO Cybele Koning also spoke to the media about the issue.
LGBTI Legal Service launched a new series of videos to complement the Trans@School resource previously published on the Queensland Human Rights Commission. They explain the rights of students under the Anti-Discrimination Act and include information on names and pronouns, school uniforms, medical information and privacy, toilets, and school sports.

Queensland Advocacy Incorporated Director, Michelle O’Flynn, sent a letter to a number of relevant officials regarding QAI’s concerns for people with disabilities living in congregate care arrangements in light of the potential for transmission of COVID-19. You can read the response here.

Michelle also gave a lecture on advocacy to QUT social work students this month.

Seniors Creating Change, a Townsville Community Legal Service initiative, was mentioned in the UN Secretary General’s Policy Brief on The Impact of COVID-19 on Older Persons as a great example of a community-led initiative. Read the brief or watch the video here.

EDO's client, Youth Verdict are challenging Clive Palmer’s proposed Galilee Coal Project in Queensland’s Land Court, arguing the mine will contribute to catastrophic climate change.  It is being challenged on Human Rights grounds and is the first climate case brought by young people in Australia. 
Covid 19 has accelerated the delivery of on-line workshops by the Taylor Street Community Legal Service. The service is in the final stages of refining on-line Divorce Workshops which will be delivered in three parts. Next to be implemented will be Family Law Workshops, including a step-by-step guide to initiating court proceedings for both parenting and/or property matters. A Scam Workshop is also in the pipeline.

Queensland Advocacy Incorporated has employed Mrs Ev Carte, in the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Liaison and Referral Officer. Ev's role will focus specifically on connecting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults with disabilities who require decision support assistance to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme. 
Prisoners Legal Service (PLS) implemented an emergency parole strategy due to the risk COVID-19 presents to people in detention. This strategy was subsequently supported by funding from the Department of Justice and Attorney General.

PLS also worked with the University of Queensland to produce a report which called for an end to solitary confinement in Queensland prisons because of the impact on the mental and physical health of prisoners.
Funding boost for community legal services

Women's Legal Service Queensland:  'Dangerous time for women': Ticking time bomb locked inside Queensland homes

Gold Coast Community Legal Centre: Legal centres face having to turn people away as demand soars

Tenants Queensland: Landlords should oppose Queensland Government's planned protections for COVID-19 tenants, says REIQ

Hub Community Legal: Legal team works from home to keep up the good work

Townsville Community Legal Centre: Coronavirus restrictions lead to rise in elder abuse cases, advocates say
11/06/20 From reacting to responding in a time of change: Fostering self-awareness and resilience

11/06/20 Remote legal practice management – tips and tricks

15/06/20 Healing our communities by ending elder abuse

25/06/20 Amendments to Queensland’s Associations Incorporation Act

06/08/20 Justice and the Law Annual Fundraising Gala

7-8/09/20 Legal Innovation and Tech Fest

9-10/11/20 Community Legal Centres Queensland State Conference **New date**
  • YAC’s submission for the consultation on raising the age of criminal responsibility
  • QAI submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS Workforce Inquiry
  • Caxton Legal Centre submission to the joint Australian NGO contribution to the 2021 UN human rights review of Australia. 
  • Caxton Legal Centre submission to the Associations Incorporation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019
  • Caxton Legal Centre submission to the QLS Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 - Supplementary submission
  • Prisoners Legal Service submission  to the Consultation on Amendments to the Corrective Services Act
  • Prisoners Legal Service submission to the Corrective Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020
  • Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service submission to the Consultation on Amendments to the Corrective Services Act
Community Legal Centres Queensland
PO Box 12102
George Street, Brisbane, QLD 4003

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