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Cross-party Senate motion condemns community legal centre cuts



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THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY MEMBER FOR ISAACS

MURRAY WATT SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND

CROSS-PARTY SENATE MOTION CONDEMNS COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE CUTS

Today a Senate motion introduced by Labor and co-sponsored by Senators Jacqui Lambie, Derryn Hinch, the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team condemning the government’s cruel cuts to Community Legal Centres (CLCs) has passed the Senate.

It takes a serious issue to unite very different political parties. But the nationwide 30 per cent cuts to CLCs across the country due to kick in on 1 July 2017 are deadly serious.

Every day CLCs offer free legal advice to people who cannot afford it themselves, on issues as diverse as family violence, welfare, employment and tenancy.

Even before the cuts, CLCs are being forced to turn 160,000 people away each year due to overcapacity issues.

Today’s announcement by the Queensland state government of some emergency funding to CLCs in that state should not have had to happen. CLCs have always been the responsibility of the Commonwealth, and Brandis will not succeed in his attempt to shift the costs to the states.

It is not too late for Prime Minister Turnbull to step in and reverse these cuts before they occur, and before the impact is felt nationwide.

Labor urges the government to listen to the Senate and the concerns of crossbenchers, and overrule his destructive Attorney-General in his vendetta against the provision of free legal services in this country.

MONDAY, 27 MARCH 2017

MEDIA CONTACT: JOANNA HEATH 0427 915 633