Federal Richmond MP Justine Elliot (Labor) has condemned the Turnbull government for slashing funding for the Northern Rivers Legal Centre.
Ms Elliot says that the ‘devastating’ funding cuts of nearly $180,000 mean that from July 1 the Tweed office and its outreach services at Pottsville and Murwillumbah will be forced to close.
‘Northern Rivers Legal Centre and its dedicated staff have been helping our local community since 1996 and now their funding is going to be cut by 23 per cent which will seriously jeopardise their ability to operate,’ Ms Elliot said.
‘The Legal Centre provides free advice and services to individuals and groups in financial hardship, subject to unfair discrimination, victims of domestic violence, people losing their employment, separating families and many others who rely on these services to access justice.
‘These are some of the most disadvantaged in our community.
‘I’m calling on the Turnbull Liberal National government to reverse these cruel cuts as a matter of urgency. Vulnerable people in our region are at risk, and I will continue to fight to have this funding restored,’ Ms Elliot said.
Community Legal Centres help hundreds of thousands of people around Australia in need of free legal assistance who do not qualify for legal aid. They are on the frontline in the battle against domestic violence and assist people with problems as diverse as Centrelink debt, tenancy disputes and employment issues.
Ms Elliot said that when in government, Labor delivered Community Legal Centres a funding injection worth more than $70 million over four years.
‘Now the Turnbull Liberal National government is cruelly slashing this important community funding,’ she said.