Million dollar boost to help ease legal stress
VULNERABLE people in Coffs Harbour, Bellingen and Nambucca who need help with legal problems will benefit from the establishment of a new free legal service in the area.
Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said the service is being funded through an additional $15.6 million investment from the NSW Liberals and Nationals Government in the community legal sector over the next three years.
"More than $860,000 of that money has been allocated to the Mid North Coast Community Legal Centre based in Port Macquarie to expand their services into Coffs Harbour and beyond,” Mr Singh said.
The organisation will receive almost $1.5 million in NSW Government funding over the next three years.
Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey said the new service would also provide people in the Bellingen and Nambucca local government areas with free legal advice on a range of issues.
"The MNCCLC will be able to provide free advice on family violence, consumer law, debt and other issues,” Ms Pavey said.
"I'm particularly pleased that the expanded service will have a special focus on helping the region's young people living in Out of Home Care transition successfully into independent adult life.”
Attorney General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Mark Speakman said that support for the community legal sector is now at record levels.
"Our state's CLCs help 55,000 people a year through legal problems that can potentially derail the lives of disadvantaged people. This funding will improve access to justice for particularly vulnerable members of the community,” Mr Speakman said.
The Mid North Coast Community Legal Centre was established in 2011 after a legal needs analysis demonstrated significant evidence that disadvantaged people living on the Mid North Coast had poor access to legal support in dealing with the justice system.
The research found the Mid North Coast region has one of the highest levels of social disadvantage in NSW, with extensive social and geographic isolation, separation from family networks and limited social and economic infrastructure.
The centre's team currently consists of 10 staff working out of the Port Macquarie office located at 30 Murray St.
The organisation is open 9am-5pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.