Tag Archive: funding cuts

  1. Federal Election 2016 – Candidates respond to community legal issues

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    In the lead up to the 2016 Federal Election, ECLC contacted all federal candidates for the House of Representatives in its catchment who are running for the upcoming election.

    ECLC respectfully asked candidates to outline their response to key issues facing communities in Melbourne’s east and the community legal sector, including:

    1. Commonwealth funding cuts to community legal services
    2. Community Law Australia – Fund Equal Justice campaign and recommendations from the Productivity Commission for secure funding of legal assistance
    3. Family violence prevention and response
    4. Specialist pathways for family violence cases in the courts
    5. Elder abuse prevention, education and response
    6. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice reinvestment

    The full letter can be accessed here.


    ECLC will publish candidates’ responses in the lead up to election day on July 2.

    Responses received to date can be viewed by electorate or by candidate.


    A full response from Stefanie Perri (ALP, Chisholm) was received on June 23 and is available here. (Apologies, as this should have been included in the earlier e-news.)

    A response from the Turnbull Coalition Team was received on June 27 and is available here.

    A response from Nick McKim, Greens spokesperson for legal affairs, was received on June 30 and is available here.

    Funding announcement

    On June 16, local ALP Candidates Stefanie Perri (Chisholm) and Tony Clark (Deakin) attended ECLC’s Box Hill office to announce a funding boost of $450,000 over 3 years if elected. Their media release is here.


    ECLC also contacted candidates via Twitter. Their responses can be viewed here or by clicking through the slideshow below.

  2. Critical Yarra Ranges legal services under threat as Budget confirms funding cuts

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    Vulnerable communities in the Yarra Ranges and across Melbourne’s east may lose access to critical legal services from July 2017, according to the Federal Government’s budget announcements on Tuesday.

    The figures confirmed that a 30 per cent cut in federal funding of community legal services would take place in July 2017 as the sector faces a national funding cliff.

    Eastern Community Legal Centre’s Yarra Ranges office, which caters to 140,000 people living across the municipality, may be forced to close when the centre cops an expected $240,000 cut in funding next year. The Centre appeared set to close its Yarra Ranges office during a funding crisis in 2014-15, before the cuts were reversed and stabilised the sector for two years.

    “The funding cut to free legal help is still a year away, but we know so well the impact and pressure that funding uncertainty has on our communities.” said ECLC CEO Michael Smith.

    “Our Centre is already facing huge demand for family violence and other legal help but the Centre will now have to expend energy to advocate to retain services, rather than expanding services to meet community needs.”

    Recently Ringwood Magistrates’ Court added an extra day to family violence matters as the court’s lists are exhausted by increased demand. Last year Victoria Police released figures that showed the number of applications for an intervention order in the Yarra Ranges region has increased by 228.69% over the past five years. These figures reflect a general increase across the region.

    “The Productivity Commission has called for significant funding expansion to legal assistance and the Victorian government has recognised demand in some recent family violence funding increases.

    “Regrettably, rather than expanding legal help, this Federal Budget leaves our Centre and many others in another year of ‘funding limbo’ with the stress of major cuts again hanging over these crucial services.” Mr. Smith concluded.

    Download ECLC’s full media release.