Anthony Byrne MP, Federal Member for Holt, visited the Casey Cardinia Community Legal Service today to discuss with Lisa Gross and Vina Fernandez the reinstatement of Legal Service Funding for the next two years for the centre.
“We welcome the recent announcement by the Federal Attorney General to reinstate legal service funding of $200,000 for the Casey Cardinia Community Legal Service for the next two years to allow the Narre Warren office to keep operating. However, while the Federal Government has restored legal service funding for this centre for the next two years the cuts to the centre’s financial counselling service still remain. This has led to the loss of three experienced financial counsellors that have provided much needed support to the local community. We will continue the campaign to have all the funding restored to the Casey Cardinia Community Legal Service,” said Mr Byrne.
The reinstatement of funding of $100,000 per year for two years to the Casey Cardinia Community Legal Service comes after a successful petition signed by 469 people that was tabled in the Federal Parliament by Anthony Byrne MP, that raised the concern that the cut in funding will lead to a loss of 1,144 hours of managerial work per year and would undermine the current assistance it provides to over 1,500 local people—mainly women—with family violence issues per year.
Federal Labor calls on Senator Brandis to fully reverse these unnecessary cuts to legal assistance funding to community legal centres. Senator Brandis may have restored some of the funding increase Labor gave to Community Legal Centres in 2013, but he has not backed away from the $6 million cut in the last Budget.
The uncertainty created by these cuts means Community Legal Centres in our region have already lost experienced staff and reduced the services they provide.
‘These services offered by the Casey Cardinia Legal Service are absolutely essential’, said Mr Byrne.
The funding of $400,000 over four years that was allocated back in 2013 under Labor to keep the Narre Warren office operating had been cut by the Abbott Government in last year’s Budget but that funding has now been restored to keep this vital legal service in our rapidly growing community operating. The aim now is to have funding restored to the Casey Cardinia Community Legal Service’s financial counselling program that had provided vital assistance to hundreds of people suffering from financial difficulty in the local community.
Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533