Local Federal MPs, Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones, were today relieved to hear that the Government were reversing their cuts to community legal centres across the country, including the Illawarra Legal Centre.
Since the last election, the local Labor MPs had called for the Government to reverse the cruel cuts as a matter of urgency.
The proposed cuts had meant that the Illawarra Legal Centre would have been forced to turn away around 500 Illawarra local residents thanks to the Turnbull Government’s proposed devastating cuts to Community Legal Centres through the National Partnership Agreement.
Community Legal Centres help hundreds of thousands of people around Australia in need of free legal assistance who do not qualify for legal aid. They are on the frontline in the battle against domestic violence and assist people with problems as diverse as Centrelink debt, tenancy disputes and employment issues.
Sharon Bird said that the decision would bring relief to the Illawarra Legal Centre who provide free legal advice and assistance to up to 5,000 people in need each year.
“The Illawarra Legal Centre which has been established for 30 years helps desperate people in need of legal advice including domestic violence victims and tenancy disputes.
“Often the Illawarra Legal Centre is the last stop for people who are desperate and need help to leave violent relationships, retain housing for their family or to keep a job. The Liberals have finally realised that these cuts are cruel and shows how out of touch they have been.
"Federal issues represent the overwhelming majority of work for legal centres. It was a scandal that the Turnbull government planned to cut their funding," said Mr Jones
“This is good news for the Illawarra, and for the 500 local residents who would have been turned away due to the cuts.”
“Any cuts to community legal centres across the country would have put enormous pressure on other services.
“It’s a shame we’ve had to fight for such a vital service, but the Coalition’s backflip is good news for Australians facing difficult circumstances.
The local MPs were pleased that the Illawarra Legal Centre could now focus on providing legal advice and assistance to those that need it most rather than battling to survive themselves.