Legal black hole looms under funding cuts

Albert & Logan News, March 9, 2017

The Palaszczuk state government has called on the Turnbull federal government to reverse a $2 million cut to community legal services.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said the federal cuts would stop some Logan residents being able to access free legal help.

“These funding cuts could force YFS Legal to reduce its services, close branch offices and telephone advice lines, and sack staff,” Mrs D’Ath said.

Under the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance, national funding for community legal centres will be slashed from $42.2 million in 2016-17 to $30.1 million in 2017-18.

Queensland’s share will be cut by $2 million – from $8.9 million in 2015-16 to $6.9 million in 2017-18.

YFS Legal acting principal solicitor Natasha Pettit said waiting lists were already up to three weeks and if the funding cuts went ahead, the centre would have to drastically cut the number of people getting free legal advice, and case work.

YFS chief executive Cath Bartolo said outreach work and community education would also be in jeopardy.