Marrickville Legal Centre faces a long winter of uncertainty as looming cuts threaten vital community legal services.
Catherine Dornan, Executive Officer of Marrickville Legal Centre says, “Less than 4 weeks from the start of the financial year and we still do not know what the exact Community Legal Service Program funding allocation is for 2015/16.”
Jo Haylen, the Member for Summer Hill, today met with Marrickville Legal Centre staff and called on NSW Attorney General, Gabrielle Upton, to provide certainty to the sector.
“Marrickville Legal Centre provides essential services to Inner West residents and to young people across the state. It deserves better than months and years of uncertainty while the state and federal governments get their act together,” Ms Haylen said.
Funding cuts to community legal centres announced in the 2014 Federal budget were delayed following community pressure, however, centres face a Commonwealth funding cut of 25% from 2017.
In May, Upton told the Sydney Morning Herald she would raise the issue with her Federal counterpart, but has yet to comment publicly on those discussions.
“Funding cuts will have a devastating impact on frontline legal services vital to the well-being of disadvantaged community members. Any cut in funding to the Centre will mean a direct cut to front-line services,” Dornan says.
Marrickville Legal Centre has already lost a full-time and part-time solicitor position.
Dornan says, “An additional loss of positions would mean over 900 people a year would go without any legal assistance for their problem. Funding cuts are bad news for individuals and bad news for the community as a whole.”
Haylen says, “Staff deserve to know their jobs are safe and clients deserve to know the services they rely on will remain in place.”
“As a community, we deserve better. In the wake of the Federal Budget and as the NSW Budget approaches, residents needs to know how Liberal priorities hurt local communities.”
“Marrickville Legal Centre shouldn’t be left out in the cold.”