NSW Government comes to the aid of community legal centres

 Mid North Coast Community Legal Centre principal solicitor Jane Titterington
Mid North Coast Community Legal Centre principal solicitor Jane Titterington

COMMUNITY legal centres have been spared a cut to services thanks to a state government funding injection.

The state government has stepped in to fill the void created by a pending 23 per cent reduction in federal government funding.

More than $6 million in additional state government support will go to community legal centres across the state over the next two years.

The Mid North Coast Community Legal Centre helps disadvantaged people with legal services across the Port Macquarie-Hastings, Kempsey and Taree regions.

The centre’s principal solicitor, Jane Titterington, applauded the announcement.

“It’s certainly a sigh of relief, not just for us but all the other centres,” Ms Titterington said about the funding.

“We can breathe a bit easier now with the injection of funding.”

Ms Titterington said they would still like the federal government to provide more funding.

Community legal centres assist 55,000 people each year across more than 30 locations.

Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams said the state government understands the important role of community legal centres, particularly for people in a vulnerable situation.

She said community legal centres often stepped in when people were at their most vulnerable.

“It’s important we continue to make sure they remain viable,” Mrs Williams said.

Attorney General Mark Speakman said the NSW Government’s action will secure their services for the future following the non-renewal of a federal funding program.

Community Legal Centres NSW chair Dr Linda Tucker welcomed the announcement but noted that increased federal funding was as important as ever.

“This NSW government funding will put an end to planned staff cuts, service reductions and outreach closures at community legal centres across NSW, ensuring that hundreds of people and communities across NSW won't lose access to the legal assistance they need,” Dr Tucker said.