Australia’s Pro Bono Program of the Year to be funded by LNP Queensland if Elected to Government in 2017
Robina Community Legal Centre (RCLC) thanks LNP Queensland on its policy decision to fund a paid RCLC principal lawyer, practice coordinator and other operational expenses in the sum of $550,000 over three years (that is $183,000 / annum).
• A nationally-accredited Community Legal Centre;
• A registered charity and ATO deductible gift recipient;
• The Lawyers Weekly, Australian Law Awards, Pro Bono Program of the Year 2016; and
• The Inaugural, Queensland Law Society, Community Legal Centre Member of the Year 2017.
RCLC is an established and successful CLC, but not presently funded by state or federal government. Principal, volunteer lawyer Justine Cirocco said: “One funded CLC for Australia’s sixth largest city has not been enough to meet the overwhelming demand for pro bono legal assistance. Gold Coast is city of 600,000 residents and ethically, both sides to a dispute cannot be seen by the one CLC law firm. The first person to run to a regional CLC “conflicts-out” the other party, preventing both parties getting timely legal advice. National CLC census figures still cite conflict-out as the greatest reason for client turnaways. RCLC volunteers are doing their best but the region has significant unmet need in Family and Domestic Violence, Elder Law, Employment Law, Tenancy and Debt Disputes.”
The demand for non-legally-aided pro bono advice is enormous. Our clients need help to save their homes, retain custody of their kids, and escape violent ex-partners. RCLC currently leverages around $2 million in donated services per annum. Funding RCLC for a paid Principal and Coordinator will stop volunteer burn-out, and allow RCLC to leverage significantly more volunteer expertise for the benefit of the community.
Greater Brisbane has around 16 funded CLC’s. Regional Queensland districts including large cities and geographic areas need at least two CLC’s so both parties to disputes can receive proper assistance. Timely legal advice form services such as RCLC can de-escalate situations, before they turn violent, and assist people towards peaceful legal resolutions.
Ms Cirocco said: “Local lawyers enjoy pro bono volunteering; to give back and be a part of the community. RCLC volunteers are making a real difference. We provided 1,353 client advice sessions in 2016 and are on track to provide even more this year.”
RCLC gratefully acknowledges the support of its many supporters and partners: Gold Coast District Law Association, Queensland Law Society, Gold Coast City Council, Bond University, Griffith University, and Community Legal Centres Queensland.
For more information about RCLC contact our Coordinator Daniel Marcantelli on the duty phone 0423 466 286, or visit our website www.rclc.net.au
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