Friday, 6 February 2015

Shorter George Brandis: Don't waste your time contacting me, I'm not interested if you live in the Clarence Valley

For years accessing no-cost legal advice, mediation and support in the Clarence Valley has been a lottery to say the least.

Name any problem (tenancy issue, dispute with a neighbour, companion animal problems, family breakdown etc.) that is not actively before the courts and the individual concerned will only have telephone numbers for services situated a hundred, sometimes many hundreds of, kilometres away.

This sad little article in The Daily Examiner on 4 February 2015 clearly indicates why it is about to become even harder in Abbott's Australia:

The Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre (NRCLC) is left in limbo as it waits for the finalisation of funding cuts.
The NRCLC is the main provider of legal support in domestic violence, employment, credit debt and other areas to the Clarence Valley. It was set to open an office in the Richmond Valley which would have provided better access to Clarence Valley residents, however, funding cuts meant it could no longer go ahead.
"A lot of people suffering domestic violence would have been helped by that office," centre manager Angela Pollard said.
"At the moment everyone is flailing. We still don't know what is happening."
She said they kept receiving funding extensions to continue operating, however, that left them in suspense while they waited for the axe to fall.
Ms Pollard tried to lobby Federal Attorney-General George Brandis to not cut the funding for the office, but he replied by letter not to waste taxpayer dollars on lobbying.
Ms Pollard said she was pleased Australian of the Year Rosie Batty highlighted Prime Minister Tony Abbott's contradictory national scheme for domestic violence orders while funding to legal services were cut.

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