The federal Senate has passed an Australian Greens' motion calling for funding for Queensland community legal centres so they can help people in need, especially domestic violence victims.
Queensland Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and spokesperson for women, said:
"The Senate is sending a strong message - it's not OK that Queensland's community legal centres have to turn away two in every three people who approach them for help.
"Funding for community legal centres will fall off a cliff in 2017 - with a planned cut of $12 million.
"Domestic violence is a state emergency and ensuring victims get the legal help they need to escape is an important part of the solution.
"While recent state and federal funding commitments to tackle domestic violence are welcome, there are still funding shortfalls for legal services, crisis accommodation, affordable housing and prevention.
"We can solve our state's domestic violence crisis - the solutions are there but the funding needs to be prioritised," Senator Waters said.
Text of motion:
Queensland community legal centres and domestic violence
- Notes the crucial work done by community legal centres across Australia assisting victims and survivors of domestic violence.
- Acknowledges recent commitments to addressing domestic violence from the Queensland and federal governments.
- Notes the fact that regardless of those commitments, Queensland community legal centres helped 50,000 people in 2014-15, but were forced to turn away more than 80,000 people.
- Notes the fact that regardless of those commitments, community legal centres face a funding cut of $12 million in 2017 under the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services.
- Notes the emergency meeting on Tuesday 13 October in Brisbane attempting to find solutions to the funding crisis for community legal centres
- Notes the Productivity Commission’s 2014 recommendation for an immediate $200 million funding boost for civil and family law assistance.
- Calls on the federal government to abandon funding cut planned for 2017, and work with State governments to increase funding to community legal centres.