Jo Haylen, Member for Summer Hill, today welcomed news that if elected in 2019, NSW Labor will reverse cuts to Community Legal Centres which will come into effect on 1 July.
The news comes as vital services - including those for victims of domestic and family violence – continue to be risked by funding uncertainty.
Despite community legal centres playing a critical role in supporting marginalised people with legal matters, the Federal Government has pushed ahead with plans to enforce a series of swingeing cuts to the sector.
NSW State Labor has committed to restoring this funding if elected in March 2019, giving greater assurance to local community centres and residents that rely on them.
News of the announcement comes as Marrickville Legal Centre continues to face uncertainty around its specialist domestic and family violence workers.
In 2015, Jo Haylen and Sophie Cotsis successfully fought to return $100,000 in domestic and family violence funding for the Centre. No assurance has been given that a similar reprieve will be given by the State Government in 2017.
Comments attributable to Jo Haylen MP, Member for Summer Hill:
“Marrickville Legal Centre has stood strong in the face of debilitating cuts, continuing to offer front line support to those who need it most.
“I am proud that Labor will support those who are supporting our most vulnerable.
“If elected, Labor will act quickly to give some certainty to the Centre and to the community who relies on it.
“In the meantime, I will continue fighting in the corner of the Marrickville Legal Centre, Redfern Legal Centre, Warringa Baiya and he Aboriginal Legal Service.
“As a first step, we absolutely must protect the domestic and family violence services at Marrickville Legal Centre.
Quotes attributable to Annette van Gent, Principal Solicitor at Marrickville Legal Centre
“This announcement is a great start to properly funding the community legal sector.
“We are often left to live month by month, with little certainty of funding. That has a significant impact on our planning and on the amount of time we can focus on serving our clients.
“We were lucky to receive funding last year from the State Government for our domestic and family violence funding, but without funding for 2017, there’s no guarantee we can continue with these services.
“Without a doubt, that will put local women and children at risk.