Vulnerable and disadvantaged Queenslanders are set to benefit from an extra $2.704 million allocated to free legal services by the Palaszczuk Government. Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D'Ath said the temporary funding through the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services will provide direct services to Queenslanders from early 2016 through to 30 June 2017.
"State and territory attorneys-general lobbied hard to convince the Federal Government to maintain funding levels for the next two years but after that they will plummet," Mrs D'Ath said. "The Palaszczuk Government will continue to call on the federal government not to proceed with its plan to slash funding to Queensland community legal centres by $2 million in 2017.
"This vital funding, which was made available to existing community legal centres, will bring additional support to vulnerable Queenslanders in the areas of family, domestic and family violence, and child protection law." Mrs D'Ath said some of the community legal services receiving additional funding includes Caxton Legal Centre and community legal centres in regional areas across Queensland.
"It means clients at Caxton Legal Centre will not have to be referred to other services to receive assistance with child protection matters. An additional $235,946 has been allocated for these services," she said. Mrs D'Ath said the Gold Coast Community Legal Centre and Advice Bureau (Gold Coast CLC) plays a vital role in responding to domestic and family violence.
"An additional $153,485 will ensure the Gold Coast CLC can provide additional family, domestic and family violence, and child protection law services in the Gold Coast area" Mrs D'Ath said. Suncoast Community Legal Service will provide a range of additional services in the Sunshine Coast area and will receive an additional $244,316.
South West Brisbane Community Legal Centre will do the same in Ipswich and surrounding areas and will receive an additional $169,177. Cairns Community Legal Centre has been allocated an additional $84,500 to provide extra services in Cairns and its surrounding areas.
Mrs D'Ath said additional funding for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women's Legal Service North Queensland will provide more outreach services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Townsville and surrounding areas.
"The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women's Legal Service North Queensland is an organisation experienced in delivering culturally appropriate family, domestic and family violence, and child protection law services," she said. Mrs D'Ath said the Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House (QPILCH) will receive a boost in funding.
"QPILCH will receive $149,997 to work with volunteer lawyers to provide additional intensive and personalised legal services to young people transitioning out of the child protection system," Mrs D'Ath said. "This initiative links young people with broader support services to help them break the cycle of disadvantage.
"Additional services will also be provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners, particularly those who have been involved in domestic violence matters, to develop parole plans to help them to reintegrate into the community and to link with appropriate support to avoid re-offending." Mrs D'Ath said a further $350,000 will provide additional legal services to people with mental health issues, intellectual disability, or cognitive impairment. A further $750,000 has been allocated to services for disadvantaged people experiencing employment law issues.
Mrs D'Ath said the temporary funding is allocated by the Palaszczuk Government from funds provided by the Commonwealth Government under the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services.
Allocation of the additional temporary Commonwealth Community Legal Centre funding: 2015-17 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women's Legal Service North Queensland Inc - $353,373 Cairns Community Legal Centre Inc - $84,500 Caxton Legal Centre Inc - $515,842 Caxton Legal Centre - $235,946 Gold Coast Community Legal Centre and Advice Bureau Inc - $153,485 Prisoners' Legal Service Inc - $90,000 Queensland Aged and Disability Advocacy Inc - $245,965 Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House Inc - $216,844 Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House Inc - $149,997 Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House Inc - $244,669 South West Brisbane Community Legal Centre Inc - $169,177 Suncoast Community Legal Service Inc - $244,316