North coast National Party MPs have broken ranks with party line over the survival of Murwillumbah Community Legal Service, following major budget cuts to its parent, the Lismore-based Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre.
The centre’s annual budget is set to be cut by $180,000 and is due to take effect from July 1, 2017. Community legal centres play a vital role in providing free legal services to vulnerable people.
Local Nationals MLC Ben Franklin told The Echo, ‘Community Legal Centres play an important role in our communities and I value the work they do for people who need a lawyer, but can’t afford to pay for one. I have raised this issue with the NSW attorney-general, Mark Speakman. The NSW government is considering options in regard to the funding cuts.’
‘In the interim, the attorney-general and I implore the federal government to reconsider its decision so CLCs can continue to deliver their invaluable service.’
A spokesperson for Mr Provest said the funding cuts may affect the outreach services and thus had already expressed his concerns to the NSW attorney-general.
* A public meeting will be held on Wednesday April 5 at 5.30pm at the Court House Hotel, Murwillumbah.