Community Legal Centres Queensland
Quarterly Newsletter | December 2016
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Community Legal Centres Queensland members have  been rallying together to argue the case for continued and increased funding for their work.  This has seen us:

Visiting the Federal Parliament in Canberra.  We held individual meetings with MPs, Senators, Staffers and Political Journalists.  The key message was calling for reversal of the funding cliff and educating MPs about the work of community legal centres.  The overwhelming reception was positive.

Our members have submitted their tender applications which will determine the allocation of Queensland and Commonwealth funding for the delivery of legal assistance service over 2017-2020.  The application process required applicants to demonstrate how they will deliver services in line with the National Strategic Framework for Legal Assistance 2015-2020 and draw upon the evidence and analysis of legal need. The outcomes of the tender process will be announced by 31st March 2017.

We hosted a reception in parliament where Bill Mitchell (Townsville Community Legal Service) and Anne Lewis (North Queensland Women’s Legal Service) gave stirring presentations, which clearly had an impact on our guests.

We met and had constructive conversations with Queensland MPs and staff from community legal centres about the new funding environment, and our commitment to work in a collaborative and client-focused way with their constituents.

 So what drives the people working in the sector to continue to fight for funding? Every day people suffering elder abuse; people experiencing homelessness; people with mental health problems; people with a disability, people experiencing family and domestic violence reach out to our centres for help yet can’t get it and that isn’t right.  Please support our efforts by:
  • Signing the petition asking PM Turnbull to reverse 30% funding cuts to community legal centres.  You can access the petition here.
  • Calling or emailing your local MP
  • Looking for people who have accessed our free legal services who can speak out about this issue.
  • Using social media to talk about #fundequaljustice

Award nomination for NQWLS - Townsville lawyer Sharell O'Brien  was recently nominated for the 2017 Queensland Young Australian of the Year award.  While she didn't win the award, Ms O'Brien hopes interest in the awards may keep domestic violence and the services available in the spotlight.

Country Ladies Day - Lawyers and Advocates travelled from TASC Toowoomba and TASC Roma to join in at the Channel Country Ladies Day in Betoota over the weekend of  October 29-30. It was a long way to travel, but the purpose was to pass along the message to women in these regional and remote areas that there is legal advice and assistance available from both the TASC offices in Roma and Toowoomba for women in need. 

Caxton Legal Centre Art Union - It only costs $100 for a ticket in the draw for the painting "Katz's Lower East Side NYC" by Adam Lester. Only 200 tickets will be sold so act quickly to make a difference in 2016.  Purchase a ticket here

Queensland is one step closer to a charter of human rights, with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announcing that her Government will introduce a Human Rights Act, based on Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.

The move was welcomed by Community Legal Centres Queensland who have been advocating for this change for some time, including working with other organisations campaigning for a Human Rights Act for Queensland.  Our members’ experiences working with vulnerable Queenslanders confirms that our clients’ basic rights aren’t being adequately protected under existing laws. 

A Human Rights Act in Queensland will increase fairness and justice for vulnerable and disadvantaged Queenslanders – community legal centres’ clients. Queensland community legal centres assist more than a thousand people each week with their legal problems, and many of these clients would benefit from a meaningful and effective Human Rights Act, as would the broader Queensland community.

While we look forward to receiving more details about the proposed laws, a Human Rights Act is an important step forward, and a welcome commitment to human rights from the Queensland Government.

Sucess Stories

The Queensland Law Handbook moves online

Nudgee MP Leanne Linard tells Parliament about threats to CLC funding.  Queensland Parliamentary Hansard.


Extra specialist duty lawyers to hasten Domestic violence response in courts

Legal centre fears for future amid talk of cuts

Women's courage inspires Townsville lawyer's fight against domestic violence 

Lawyers meet voluntary pro bono target for first time since 2013

Tackling domestic violence - what progress has been made?

Community legal body hopes for no further cuts

DV court addressing cultural, as well as legal challenges

Couple with Down syndrome fights for parenting dream

Queensland breaches international standards on youth detention: Amnesty finds

Staff from community legal centres from around Queensland are meeting with State politicians today with hopes to get support ahead of Federal funding cuts


Webinar: Trauma informed practice and resilient lawyering
Webinar: Lessons from the 2016 legal discipline cases

Conference: Community Legal Centres Queensland Conference 2017

Submission to the Agriculture and Environment Committee on Qld Environmental Protection (Underground Water Management) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016

Submission to Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee on the Domestic and Family Violence Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016

Submission to the Education, Tourism, Innovation and Small Business Committee on the Youth Justice and Other Legislation (Inclusion of 17 year old Persons) Amendment Bill 2016

Submission to the Health, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee on Health (Abortion Law Reform) Amendment Bill 2016

Sucess Stories
Trapped New Zealander is freed - “David” arrived in Australia as a two year old and was later taken into state care for 11 years. He experienced 19 different families/carers, and was only ever allocated a temporary residence visa. More

Many lawyers collaborate to get Cairns man back to work - ‘James’, a 64-year-old man living in a rural area west of Cairns, lost his job and his employer-provided housing after he sustained a workplace injury. The Cairns Community Legal Centre assisted James to file for reinstatement with the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission and then connected James with QPILCH’s Referral Service. More

Mental illness “downward spiral” disrupted by lawyers - Following a divorce, 64 year old “Phil” became mentally unwell, which set off an enormous chain of problems. He lost his job, couldn’t keep up with his rent and tried to end his life. He began living off his superannuation, credit card and a bank loan.  He incurred more than $90,000 of debts, including a $45,000 credit card debt. More

Helen maintains her right to financial independence - The Taylor Street Community Legal Service was approached by Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia to assist Helen*, a young woman living with autism and complex mental health issues to appeal a finding by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) that she did not have capacity to manage her financial affairs and the appointment of her mother as her Administrator. More
Community Legal Centres Queensland
PO Box 12102
George Street, Brisbane, QLD 4003

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