A Majority Labor Government will increase permanent funding to the Community Legal Assistant Sector in Tasmania by $1.75 million annually.
Labor Member for Clark and Shadow Attorney-General Ella Haddad said $700 ,000 of the funding will be made available to Women’s Legal Service Tasmania after the Liberals provided only a one off grant which will soon expire.
The remaining commitment will provide permanent funding to each of the other Community Legal Centres across the state: Hobart Community Legal Centre, Launceston Community Legal Centre, the North West Regional Legal Centre, the Tasmanian Refugee Legal Service and the Tenants Union.
Ms Haddad said the one-off Gutwein Government grant of $400,000 provided to the Women’s Legal Service during the COVID pandemic was set to expire at a time when demand for legal representation remained high and access to legal services remained crucial.
“People must have access to legal representation when they need it and under the Liberals they are just not receiving it,” Ms Haddad said.
“The Liberal Government is not committed to everyday Tasmanians getting the support they need to navigate the complicated and confusing legal system and, in fact, Tasmanians are being turned away from legal services.
“They are being forced to languish on long wait lists and that prolongs what can often be a traumatic experience of going through the courts.
“During COVID, Women’s Legal Tasmania received a one-off grant of $400,000 but the demand for legal advice and support has doubled since March 2020 and shows no signs of slowing.
“We know women have been disproportionately affected by COVID and meantime a national spotlight is now on family and domestic violence, sexual assault and the mistreatment of women and it’s essential that legal assistance is available from well-funded community legal services.
“This increased need across the entire community legal sector is showing no signs of abating and now is the wrong time for the Liberals to be cutting this vital support.”
Labor will fund:
- $700,000 for the Women’s Legal Service Tasmania
- $200,000 for Hobart Community Legal Centre
- $200,000 for Launceston Community Legal Centre
- $200,000 for North West Community Legal Centre
- $200,000 for the Tasmanian Refugee Legal Service
- $200,000 for the Tenants Union
- $50,000 for Community Legal Centre’s policy funding
Ella Haddad MP
Labor Member for Clark