Fairer cut is needed

April 25, 2017

The Goulburn Valley Community Legal Centre’s manager is relieved after the Federal Government yesterday announced funding for community legal centres in its budget, but she remains cautious.

GVCLC managing lawyer Kaz Gurney said the region needed a fairer cut of funding to better reflect needs locally.

The government will include $39million of funding for community legal centres and $16.7million for indigenous legal services over three years in its May 9 budget.

The money takes funding for the services to 2020, when a national partnership agreement with the states and territories ends.

But Labor has labelled the decision a humiliating backdown for Attorney-General George Brandis and a win for campaigners across the country.

Ms Gurney said uncertainty lingered as to where the money was being directed and how that would impact individual community legal centres.

‘‘It’s a question we’re certainly looking forward to answers to,’’ she said.

‘‘A lot more detail is needed.’’

The GVCLC had previously understood it would lose $100000 in annual funding at the start of next financial year, due to expected cuts to CLCs across Australia.

The future of a family lawyer position at the centre that would typically help more than 200 people during the space of 12 months had been under question, Ms Gurney said.

She described the Goulburn Valley as a ‘‘special case’’ where the current level of funding was inequitable and local circumstances needed to be considered.

If geography and socio-economic factors were considered, Ms Gurney said the Goulburn Valley deserved markedly more than what it was getting.

— with AAP

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