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Monday, 7 November 2016
Page: 3046

Mr PERRETT (MoretonOpposition Whip) (16:08): I was recently contacted by one of my constituents, Suzanne, who works for the Youth Advocacy Centre, a community legal centre that specialises in free legal services for young people generally aged between 10 and 18 years in Queensland. Suzanne said that for years this centre has absorbed increasing wages and costs. She is worried about the centre's budget and that it will not survive the cuts proposed by the Joyce-Turnbull government. She is very concerned that the Turnbull government's cuts to community legal centres will cause serious disruption to the Youth Advocacy Centre at a time when it is likely to experience an increase in clients.

Last week the Queensland parliament passed a bill that will result in 17-year-olds no longer being incarcerated in adult prisons. That is good news, and I congratulate the Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath. However, the Youth Advocacy Centre believes that the change will see an increase in the amount of young people requiring this service.

The Productivity Commission has already acknowledged the value that community legal centres add to our community. Services that support young people and help them to find their way through the justice system must add even more value to the community by reducing the long-term social damage and encouraging these young people to become productive members of the community and to pay their taxes.

The Productivity Commission, as you know, is not exactly a left-wing organisation. So I stand with Suzanne. I thank her for making contact with my office. I stand with her in condemning the Turnbull government and the Attorney-General George Brandis, a Queensland senator, for these proposed cuts to community legal centres and I ask them to reconsider the value that they deliver.