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CLC cuts may force closures

Briefs

Cite as: August 2015 89 (8) LIJ, p.11

Some of Victoria's community legal centres (CLCs) could be forced to close under a new national partnership on legal funding that was agreed to in June.

The federal government committed to maintaining current funding under its agreement with all the states and territories but signalled a 30 per cent cut in two years.

The Victorian government provides 65 per cent of the budget of the state’s 50 CLCs. Some Victorian CLCs have a budget of less than $300,000 a year and the federal cuts would mean they would lose around 15 per cent of their total funding. “We are talking about centres that run very cheaply,” said Federation of Community Legal Centres Victoria executive officer Liana Buchanan. “They run on the smell of an oily rag and they can’t take a cut of 15 per cent. It would probably mean they would have to close their doors.”

The cuts come at a time when family violence has been highlighted as one of the most pressing social issues facing Australia. Ms Buchanan said in the first half of the 2015 financial year 39 per cent of new cases opened in Victorian CLCs were family violence cases.

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