Community Legal Centres Queensland
Quarterly Newsletter | September 2016
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Competition for funding heats up

This month community legal centres will be required to apply for Queensland and Commonwealth funding to deliver legal assistance services for 2017-2020. While our members already turn away more than half of the people seeking legal help, Commonwealth funding will decrease by almost 27% for this funding cycle.

James Farrell, Director of Community Legal Centres commented, ‘The strength of the Queensland community legal centre sector in the past has been our collegial approach to the inherently competitive process of distributing scarce government funding.  Community legal centres focus on contributing to a collaborative and client-focused service system. This tender round is particular challenging, given the reduced Commonwealth funding to Queensland services. 

'Recently published results from the National Association of Community Legal Centres census showed that centres are spending more time on searching for funding to maintain crucial services. 28 community legal centres report spending 247 hours per week in 2014/15 financial year on funding-related activities. This means less time is available to provide legal assistance to clients.' 

'The funding cliff will see a further reduction in services and outreach, closure of branch offices and telephone advice lines, and loss of staff,' Mr Farrell went on to say. ‘Vulnerable Queenslanders will pay the price.
Congratulations to Robina Community Legal Centre who won the Pro Bono Program of the Year Award. The award was announced in Sydney at the Lawyers Weekly Australia Law Awards. Read about it here.

The Cairns Community Legal Centre started the Cairns Mental Health Legal Service. This new service provides advice and assistance via fortnightly clinics at the Cairns Hospital’s Mental Health Unit, including assistance in relation to Involuntary Treatment Orders and ECT Applications. Read about it here.

The LGBTI Legal Service won 'Community Support Group of the Year' at the annual Queen's Ball, a long-running event that celebrates the contributions to the LGBTI community in Queensland.

Eight Queensland CLCs re-certified for a further three years! The roll out of the second cycle of National Accreditation Scheme for Community Legal Centres is making good progress. To date, nine Queensland centres have completed an online self-assessment and site visit assessment. Eight centres have been granted renewal of certification for another three years and will now begin working on the actions set out in their Improvement Plans. Congratulations to these CLCs on their achievements!

The Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ) family has grown. Melissa Fritz brings a wealth of experience to the new Advice/Casework Lawyer role, having practiced in family law for 25 years.  Nicole Manning will also join WLSQ in her new role as Evening/Casework Lawyer.

On 19 August, the LGBTI Legal Service held its 6th anniversary event with keynote speakers The Hon. Michael Kirby, former justice of the High Court, and local lawyer Stephen Page.  The event was an amazing success with over 200 guests including Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath, a number of judges and local members of parliament.   The event raised over $5,000 towards the continued operation of the Service.

As a result of Community Legal Centres Queensland advocacy, Queensland Department of Justice and Legal Aid Queensland have agreed to meet the costs of Auslan interpreting for Community Legal Centres’ deaf clients. This means that centres seeing a client that is deaf or hard of hearing are now able to book an Auslan interpreter, which is then paid for by Legal Aid Queensland.

Skype justice: Budget cuts push community lawyers to improvise with IT

Queensland community groups ask for end to funding blackmail

Free legal advice proves invaluable at a time you will need it most


Sucess Stories

QPILCH CLE videos for self-represented litigants

WSLQ Property Settlement Roadmap Infosheet

QCAT review of decisions made by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services


Community Legal Centres Queensland workshop and AGM

Community Legal Centres Queensland Parliamentary Reception

Caxton turns 40

Sucess Stories
Injured employee receives settlement thanks to Cairns CLC

Mental Health Law Practice negotiates debt relief for 'George'

New precedent on property settlement involving veterans


Agriculture and Environment Committee on the Vegetation Management (Reinstatement) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016

Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee on the Abortion Law Reform (Women’s Right to Choose) Amendment Bill 2016 and Inquiry into laws governing termination of pregnancy in Queensland

Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee on the Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016

Senate Committee on Community Affairs on the Indefinite Detention of People with Cognitive and Psychiatric Impairment in Australia

Standing Committee on the Environment on the Registers of Environmental Organisations

Meet the gang

Community Legal Centres Queensland has increased in number over the last quarter. 

We welcomed Rosslyn Monro who started as Sector Sustainability Coordinator. Rosslyn may be well-known to many of you as Coordinator of Women’s Legal Service (QLD) and a former director of the Youth Advocacy Centre.
Penny Sullivan started as the Regional Accreditation Coordinator. Penny worked in the NT Government for many years, focusing on public housing and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Penny is the chairperson of INCH Housing and has project-managed the development and implementation of policy/procedure renewals and quality assurance compliance.

Monica Roberts, the former Regional Accreditation Officer, has transition into the new Queensland Legal Assistance Forum Policy Officer. Monica trained as a lawyer and has extensive experience working in law interpretation and policy development at a number of statutory authorities.
Kirsty Mackie has taken on the job of Research Officer.  She is responsible for researching and preparing submissions to State and Federal Government discussion papers on issues that affect Queensland Community Legal Centres.  Kirsty is also a practising lawyer with a particular interest in elder law and elder abuse and she is the Chair of the Queensland Law Society’s Elder Law Committee. 

We were delighted to be able to offer our long term (and one of our favourite) volunteers a  job. Hannah Kreiger is currently studying a dual Bachelor of Business Management/ Law degree at the University of Queensland.  She will be working with  the Community Legal Centres Queensland team a couple of days per week on a range of administration tasks
Community Legal Centres Queensland
PO Box 12102
George Street, Brisbane, QLD 4003

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