Potential funding cuts for Mid North Coast Community Legal Centre

Funding cut: Mid North Coast Community Legal Centre solictior Jane Titterington says funding cuts are on the way.
Funding cut: Mid North Coast Community Legal Centre solictior Jane Titterington says funding cuts are on the way.

A GOVERNMENT-funded organisation tasked with helping some of the most disadvantaged people in our community is facing potential funding cuts.

Solicitor with the Mid North Coast Community Legal Centre, Jane Titterington, says the cuts will take effect from July 1, 2017 unless more funding is sourced.

The centre, which celebrates its fifth birthday next month, has provided services to around 2400 people in the past financial year.

And the trajectory has been climbing from the first year.

The centre's workload is dominated by people identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, the unemployed, young and aged and people with disabilities.

The bulk of the centre's work is in providing advice sessions, while undertaking case work, providing information and attending community legal education commitments are also key to its success.

The legal centre is an independent and not for profit organisation.

Mrs Titterington said the predicted 25 per cent funding cut will mean a loss of services across the Kempsey-Macleay, Port Macquarie-Hastings and Manning LGA.

"We are hopeful that the current governments of the day will see and realise the full value in the service we provide from this office," she said.

"Our figures are consistently climbing. Our clients are among the most disadvantaged in their respective communities.

"If the cuts go ahead, it will affect our ability to provide a high level of service.

“We are potentially facing job cuts, loss of outreach services and a restriction of services. This is a disappointing outcome. It is still unclear how much funding in real dollar terms will be cut."

A recent productivity commission report backed the work provided by community legal centres, and supported an increase in funding.

The solicitor plans to meet with state member Leslie Williams, and the federal members Dr David Gillespie and Luke Hartsuyker to push the case for the funding to remain in place.

peter.daniels@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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