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2016 Archived

National Association of Community Legal Centres - Response to MYEFO - 21 December 2016

The Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) announced today represents another missed opportunity by the Federal Government to guarantee access to vital legal help for vulnerable and disadvantaged people across Australia says the National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS). > More

Pat Anderson AO wins 2016 Human Rights Medal - 15 December 2016

As Chair of the Lowitja Institute and co-chair of the Prime Minister's Referendum Council, Pat Anderson has made an exceptional contribution to advancing the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly in regards to education, health, early childhood development, and violence against women and children. > More

Australian Pro Bono Centre - Open letter from mid-sized Law Firms outlining the Risks of Cutting Funding to Legal Assistance Services - 15 December 2016

The impending cuts to the funding of Community Legal Centres from 1 July 2017 present serious risks, not only to the capacity of the legal assistance sector to assist low-income and disadvantaged people within the Australian community, but also the ability of many law firms to deliver much needed pro bono legal services. > More

PIAC welcomes NSW Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme - 7 December 2016

'The recognition by government of the harm caused to Aboriginal people and communities by the policies of child removal, and the willingness to make reparations, is welcome. We look forward to reviewing the detail of the scheme,' said PIAC CEO Jonathon Hunyor. > More

Homelessness Australia and 209 organisations open letter to the Prime Minister - 7 December 2016

The 209 undersigned organisations are seeking your urgent intervention to avert the human,economic and policy disaster that will occur if the National Partnership Agreement onHomelessness (NPAH) is de-funded in 2017. > More

NSW Law Society - Justice Kiefel appointment marks historic day - 7 December 2016

President of Law Society of NSW, Gary Ulman, said Justice Susan Kiefel's appointment as Chief Justice in the High Court was a 'red letter day' for the legal profession. > More

LawAccess NSW publishes new Communications Toolkit - 30 November 2016

The LawAccess NSW Communications Toolkit is intended to provide individuals and organisations with materials to help spread the word about LawAccess NSW across a range of channels, including websites, intranets social media​​platforms and electronic and printed newsletters. You can use this toolkit to raise awareness of the LawAccess NSW service and connect those around you with​a free service that may assist them with their legal problem. > More

Civil Justice Strategy Consultation open until 24 February 2017 - 30 November 2016

More than 2 million people in NSW experience a civil justice problem every year. Research tells us, however, that many of us don't do anything to solve them.The purpose of this consultation paper is to get your feedback on ideas to achieve this, and to give you an opportunity to put your ideas forward. > More

Law and Justice Foundation of NSW 50th Anniversary Grants Program opens - 23 November 2016

To mark its 50 year anniversary, the Foundation has announced an Anniversary Grants Program that aims to support one or more projects (to a total value of $150,000) that contribute to achieving our mandate and reflect the Foundation's rigorous approach to addressing the legal needs of the community. > More

ABC Lateline interview with PIAC and First Peoples Disability Network, 16 November 2016 - 17 November 2016

Damian Griffis tells Lateline there is no support for Indigenous people with disabilities in the Northern Territory and the issue must be addressed immediately. While Jonathon Hunyor says jailing people with cognitive impairments is unacceptable. > More

Cash Converters to refund $10.8million to small loan customers following ASIC Probe - 10 November 2016

ASIC has agreed to accept an enforceable undertaking from Cash Converters following concerns that, in respect of small amount loans processed via its online website at www.cashconverters.com.au. > More

NSW Young Lawyers Being Well in the Law Free Publication now available - 9 November 2016

Being Well in the Law is a toolkit for lawyers. It draws on expert and multidisciplinary knowledge about the breadth of mental health problems and offers ideas to help everybody, young and old, deal with depression, anxiety and stress and learn to better manage the business and pressures of work and life. > More

Lawyers call on Prime Minister to restore funding to the legal assistance sector - 9 November 2016

We are writing as the heads of Australia's eight law societies and the representatives of thenation's more than 60,000 practising solicitors, to voice our concerns about the impact ofimpending cuts to the legal assistance sector. > More

Deng Adut wins 2016 NSW Law Society Presidents Medal - 2 November 2016

A former child soldier who overcame the odds to become an inspirational community leader and criminal and refugee lawyer has been awarded the NSW Law Society President's Medal. > More

Australian Pro Bono Centre launches new editions of their flagship publications - 2 November 2016

Last week High Court judge, the Hon Justice Virginia Bell AC, launched the new editions of the Australian Pro Bono Centre's two flagship publications: The Australian Pro Bono Manual A practice guide and resource kit for law firms (3rd ed)and Pro bono partnerships and models A practical guide to What Works (2nd ed). > More

ALRC Inquiry into Indigenous Incarceration Announced by Federal Government, Oct 2016 - 27 October 2016

Today a joint announcement by Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Attorney General states that the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) will be asked to examine the factors leading to the over representation of Indigenous Australians in our prison system, and consider what reforms to the law could ameliorate this national tragedy. > More

Legal Aid NSW - New Legal Brochures for Aboriginal People - 27 October 2016

Legal Aid NSW has published eight new brochures for Aboriginal people on a variety of legal topics. > More

Justice Medal 2016 awarded to Richard Brading founder of Wesley Mission's free Problem Gambling Legal Service - 19 October 2016

Wesley Mission's Richard Brading has been awarded the Justice Medal from the Law andJustice Foundation for his outstanding work in providing legal services to problemgamblers and for driving reform in response to the impact of problem gambling ondisadvantaged people > More

NSW Law Society - Charter for the Advancement of Women in the Legal Sector - 19 October 2016

The Charter is designed to promote and support strategies to retain women in the profession over the course of their careers and encourage and promote their career progression into senior executive and management positions. The signatories to this Charter agree to implement and commit to five strategies outlined within the Charter within two years of signing the Charter, with the exception of equal pay for graduates, which will be implemented within 12 months. > More

Keeping Women Out of Prison - Position Statement - Sept 2016 - 12 October 2016

In 2013, a coalition of Australian non-profit organisations, led by the Sydney Community Foundation (SCF), came together to address some of the key systemic failures and major human rights issues affecting women in NSW prisons. > More

BOCSAR Report in to NSW Prison Population between 2011 and 2015, - 12 October 2016

The growth in the number of persons entering remand is likely due to four factors: (a) an increase in the number of people proceeded against by police for offences where bail refusal is likely (b) an increase in the number of persons proceeded against by police for breach of bail (c) an increase in the time spent in custody on remand and (d) (possibly) an increase in the likelihood of bail refusal. The cause of the increase in time spent on remand is notknown for certain at this stage but it may be related to a growth in the backlog of trial cases in the NSW District Criminal Court. > More

Tenants' Union NSW - Has a New Website - 12 October 2016

The redesign uses the latest ideas in user experience to make a more accessible and useful resource for tenants and their advocates. But since it's a new site, we're still fixing bugs and adding content. If you notice problems, or would like to spend a moment to let us know what you think, please email your feedback to contact@tenantsunion.org.au. > More

NSW Law Society President's Message - Time for a new approach to identity documents - 4 October 2016 - 6 October 2016

An estimated 15-17 per cent of all Indigenous prisoners are incarcerated for unauthorised driving and the link between -never licensed- offences and no identity documents is compelling. The link between access to identity documents and the prevalence of driving offences, interactions with the criminal justice system and subsequent incarceration of Indigenous people has been noted in various government inquiries. A birth certificate and driver's licence unlock opportunities to access education, paid and voluntary work, connectivity with family and friends and access to services and medical treatment. > More

Australia is Locking up Too Many Women but UK offers blueprint for radical new approach - 28 September 2016

Baroness Corston led a world-first review of women with vulnerabilities in the criminal justice system in the United Kingdom. The 2007 Corston Report set out a blueprint for a radically different approach to a growing social and economic problem. > More

WESNET Safe Technology for Women - Safe Connections Phase 2 being rolled out - 28 September 2016

Recently Telstra has committed to significantly expanding our partnership program called Safe Connections, with the announcement that they will be donating a total of 20,000 smartphones to WESNET to distribute to women who are experiencing domestic or family violence. > More

NSW Justice Have Your Say - Making 'Revenge Porn' a Crime - submissions by 21 October - 21 September 2016

On 5 September 2016 the Attorney General announced that the NSW Government is proposing to specifically criminalise the distribution of intimate images without consent ('revenge porn'). The Department of Justice has developed a discussion paper which identifies issues and poses questions to assist in developing a new offence specifically directed at this behaviour. > More

NCAT Videos - Available in multiple languages - 21 September 2016

These videos show the diversity of matters heard at NCAT. The information in the videos is intended as a guide to law and procedure only. They cover Tenancy, Guardianship, Home Building and Review of Administrative Decisions. > More

NCAT Videos - Available in multiple languages - 21 September 2016

These videos show the diversity of matters heard at NCAT. The information in the videos is intended as a guide to law and procedure only. They cover Tenancy, Guardianship, Home Building and Review of Administrative Decisions. > More

ALS NSW/ACT Takin' a different path video produced by young people from Bourke NSW - 14 September 2016

You can go to lock up over and over, or you can take a different path. The young people from Bourke NSW scripted, filmed and produced this film, as part of the ALS Talking FactSheet Project - films made by and for the mob.Need legal advice? Contact ALS 1800 765 767 > More

NSW Government Foundations for Change - Homelessness in NSW Discussion Paper, September 2016 - 8 September 2016

Foundations for Change Homelessness in NSW aims to engage a wide range of organisations and individuals to strengthen collective action and develop a newstrategy for reducing homelessness. This strategy aims to broaden the conversation about what homelessness means and how we can prevent it. > More

PIAC welcomes NSW Government Foundations for Change homelessness discussion paper - 8 September 2016

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre has welcomed the NSW Government's discussion paper on homelessness, 'Foundations for Change,' as a once in a decade opportunity to reduce homelessness in NSW. > More

Tenants Union of NSW - My House My Home Video - Celebrating 40 years of TU in NSW - 31 August 2016

Last week the Tenants' Union turned 40! Four decades of working for tenants rights and housing justice is no mean feat. Together with thousands of tenants and supporters, the TU has achieved real gains in law reform, advised hundreds of thousands of tenants, established a network of advice services, positively influenced government policy, and actively contributed to public debate. It hasn't always been an easy journey, but we've maintained our commitment and long-term vision of a secure, liveable and affordable renting system. To celebrate our 40th, we have just released two new videos. > More

NSW Fair Trading Complaints Register Now Available - 31 August 2016

The NSW Fair Trading Complaints Register lists businesses that are the subject of 10 or more complaints to NSW Fair Trading in a calendar month.The Complaints Register is updated monthly in the second half of each month with complaints data from the previous calendar month. The collection of data for the purposes of the Complaints Register commenced on 1 July 2016, and the first Register was published on 25th August 2016. > More

ACCC Educational Resources for Consumers with a Disability and the Businesses supplying them - 31 August 2016

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have released a suite of four educational resources for consumers with disability and the businesses supplying them. These resources include an Easy English guide that explains consumer rights clearly, including numerous pictures (this guide is suitable for consumers with an intellectual disability); a consumer guide for consumers with disability, support networks and carers (this is a more detailed guide and uses examples that are relevant to consumers with disability), and a two page fact sheet that gives a brief overview of consumer rights for consumers with disability. > More

Legislation Continues to Shortchange Victims of Domestic Violence - PIAC submission to NSW statutory review of Victims Rights and Support Act - 17 August 2016

In a submission to the statutory review of the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013 (NSW) PIAC has highlighted a range of issues that collectively contribute to women escaping domestic violence receiving inadequate compensation for the crimes committed against them. > More

National Homelessness Week 1-7 August - Homelessness Counts - 2 August 2016

The 2016 National Homelessness Week (1-7th August) will be officially launched in Sydney to raise awareness of people experiencing homelessness and the issues they face. The theme for this year's National Homelessness Week, #HomelessnessCounts, was chosen to not only encourage us all to recognise that those experiencing homelessness are a valuable part of our society but also to promote the upcoming Census and the importance of ensuring that those experiencing homelessness are adequately represented in Census data. > More

AHRC - This Must Be a Wake-Up Call - Youth Detention in the NT - 2 August 2016

This must be a wake-up call to everyone in Australia. Something has to be done about the way we lock up people in this country, especially our kids. With those words, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda, captured the shock, despair and frustration experienced by many Australians who watched the Four Corners report on the Northern Territory's youth detention centre, Don Dale. > More

NSW Custody Statistics - Quarterly Update at June 2016 - 2 August 2016

The NSW adult prison population grew by 6.5 per cent between July 2015 and June 2016, reaching 12,550 in June this year. This brings the total increase in the NSW adult prison population over the last two years to 21 per cent. The increase is attributable to a growth in prisoners on remand (i.e. unconvicted prisoners awaiting trial or sentence). Between July 2015 and June 2016 the number of adult prisoners on remand grew by 14.8 per cent (from 3,633 to 4,170). Over the same period, the number of sentenced prisoners rose by 2.8 per cent (from 8,148 to 8,380). > More

ASICs MoneySmart Take a Minute With Your Money Campaign Videos for Aboriginal People - 2 August 2016

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has launched three new videos to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in remote and regional areas with information on motor vehicle finance, renting appliances, and using book up (running a tab or a store account). > More

NSW Bar Association - Understanding Transgenerational Trauma in Aboriginal Communities Seminar - 19 July 2016

A seminar will be held in the Common Room at 5.15pm on Thursday 4 August 2016. "Understanding transgenerational trauma in Aboriginal communities" will be presented by Professor Mick Dodson AM, Dr Robyn Shields and Magistrate Duncombe and chaired by the Honourable Justice Stephen Rothman AM, Supreme Court of NSW. Please note registration is required for this event. To register please email your full name and organisation to tmcdonald@nswbar.asn.au. Places are limited. > More

Aboriginal Legal Service Care&Protection Symposium, 5 August, Newcastle - 19 July 2016

In order to draw attention to early intervention, prevention and family restoration services as a means of decreasing high rates of Aboriginal child removal in NSW, the ALS children's care and protection legal practice is holding a symposium on 'Aboriginal children, culture and the law' on 5 August 2016 to which practitioners and the general public are invited to. > More

Aboriginal Legal Service Talking Factsheet Project receives new funding - 19 July 2016

Law firm King&Wood Mallesons have donated funds to the ALS Talking Fact Sheet Project enabling the production of further legal education films by Aboriginal children and young people around NSW and ACT. The Talking Fact Sheet project asks young people to transform our written legal information Fact Sheets into 'Talking Fact Sheets', very short films produced by and for the mob, in the style of edutainment/infomercials, and in a language, style and genre that best reflects the aspirations and cultural outlook of local environments. > More

Consumer Groups shocked by Federal Court ruling on Funeral Insurance - 13 July 2016

The court decision effectively over-rules a decision by the previous Minister for Human Services Marise Payne to prohibit funeral insurance providers from using Centrepay to secure payments. It gives the green light for ACBF to profit from Centrelink payments in front of payments for rent, food and other essentials. > More

new Health Justice Australia website - 13 July 2016

Welcome to the website of the national centre for health justice partnership. As we build this new national charity, we want your input on what we do and why it matters. Much of the text on these pages reflects initial ideas that we are testing with people working or interested in health justice partnerships. Please take the time to sign up to our mailing list and to send us your feedback about what's already on these pages; and what else you'd like to see here. > More

eSafety Women - Empowering Women to Take Control Online - 27 June 2016

The eSafety Women resources aim to help women manage technology risks and abuse by giving women the tools they need to be confident when online. > More

NCOSS - NSW Budget Analysis: Broad Investment in People Welcome - 27 June 2016

The NSW Budget invests in a range of initiatives that will make a real difference to the lives of people experiencing poverty and disadvantage but continued lack of investment in early intervention and early learning are missed opportunities according to the NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS). > More

PIAC welcomes recommendations of NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Reparations for the Stolen Generations in New South Wales - 23 June 2016

As there is no formal structure in New South Wales for this to occur, the committee has recommendedthat a Stolen Generations Advisory Committee be established, whose role will be to advise the Premier and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs on Stolen Generations issues, including on the development and implementation of reparations for those affected by forcible removals. > More

NSW Law Society - Prison Funding Plan Reflects a Wider Problem - 22 June 2016

Lawyers see today's announcement of 7,000 prison beds as a retrograde step highlighting the need for a public debate on law and order. > More

PIAC welcomes appointment of new CEO - Jonathon Hunyor - 17 June 2016

We are delighted that Jonathon Hunyor will be the new CEO of PIAC, replacing Edward Santow, who is leaving the organisation on 30 June to become the Australian Human Rights Commissioner. > More

PIAC supports Households in the Dark Report recommendations - 9 June 2016

PIAC supports calls for the NSW Government to review the Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) scheme following St Vincent de Paul Society's report 'Households in the dark'. > More

Free legal help for children, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and consumers under threat - 9 June 2016

6 June 2016 - The National Association of Community Legal Centres today called on the Commonwealth Government to continue and increase funding for national Community Legal Centres. > More

Vote Home 2016 - 5 Reforms to deliver more affordable housing and end homelessness - 2 June 2016

Vote Home 2016 campaign - an alliance made up of Homelessness Australia, National Shelter, the Community Housing Industry Association and the Australian Council of Social Service asks all Australians to sign a petition calling for tax reforms that put ordinary people ahead of the interests of investors. > More

Law and Justice Foundation Grants Round Now Open - Closes 31 August 2016 - 1 June 2016

The current focus of the grants program is on projects from which lessons will be learned that contribute to identifying effective reforms, initiatives and programs to address legal need. > More

Richard Roxburgh supports Legal Aid Matters campaign - 26 May 2016

-Rake- actor Richard Roxburgh adds his support to a national campaign calling on the Federal Government to adequately fund legal aid in Australia. Further informational available at: www.legalaidmatters.org.au > More

Law Week 2016 - Launch of Legal Aid Matters Campaign - Thursday 19 May - 17 May 2016

As part of Law Week events, the Law Society of NSW and the NSW Bar Association in partnership with community-based legal service providers, will launch on Thursday 19 May Legal Aid Matters, a campaign aimed at ensuring that the next Federal Government responds decisively to Australia's legal aid funding crisis. > More

What is Best Practice in Pro Bono - new resource launched by the National Pro Bono Centre - 9 May 2016

The guide is supported by examples of best practice from individual firms and also quantitative data so as to provide benchmarks and to illustrate the Australian context.Copies of the single page abbreviated version and the six page full version of the guide can be downloaded from the Centre's website > More

AHRC - Willing to Work - National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination against Older Australians and Australians with a Disability Report launched - 3 May 2016

Key recommendations from the Willing to Work report include:Establishing a Minister for Longevity;Developing national action plans to address employment discrimination and lift the labour force participation of older people and people with disability;Expanding the role of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency to become the Workplace Gender Equality and Diversity Agency;Introducing national education campaigns to dispel myths and stereotypes about older people and people with disability;Adopting targets for employment and retention of older people and people with disability in the public service. > More

Law Council of Australia campaigns for adequate and ongoing funding for legal assistance services - 29 April 2016

The Law Council of Australia will run a campaign into the forthcoming federal election to try and educate and encourage individual MPs and government at a federal level of the need for adequate and ongoing funding for legal assistance services. A vitally important part of this campaign will be raising community awareness of the centrality of legal assistance funding, as well as approaching MPs as a group and on an individual basis to open a dialogue and discuss these issues further.The campaign will be based on the recently successful UK -Are You For Justice?- campaign which led to the Justice Secretary suspending legal aid fee cuts and retreating from contract tendering for duty solicitors. This campaign was supported by such high profile persons as Stephen Fry and concentrated on telling stories of ordinary people who would never have expected to have needed a lawyer but could not have done without one in the circumstances of their case. > More

NSW Law Society - EOI called for new Diversity and Inclusion Committee - 29 April 2016

The objectives of the Committee are to promote diversity, equality and inclusion in the legal profession, in particular by progressing initiatives to ensure the equality of opportunity for all members of the profession, regardless of sex, race, disability or sexuality. The Committee intends to have representatives from various segments of the profession, such as: women lawyers, LGBT lawyers, lawyers of Asian heritage, lawyers with disabilities and Indigenous lawyers. > More

Justice Connect Not for Profit Law Funding Boost from NSW Government - 29 April 2016

Today's announcement by the Minister for Family and Community Services Brad Hazzard of $825,000 over three years to Justice Connect Not-for-profit Law is a big step towards building an even stronger community sector in NSW. > More

National Legal Aid - New Domestic Violence Figures Reveal DV is Endemic in Family Law Cases - 19 April 2016

National Legal Aid welcomes a COAG Advisory Panel report which highlights the need for increased legalassistance for domestic violence victims. The report coincides with the release of disturbing new figuresrevealing the extent of domestic violence in legal aid family law cases. > More

NSW Law Society - Statement on Indigenous Incarceration - 19 April 2016

Statement from the Law Society of NSW on the 25th anniversary of the Report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. > More

Legal Aid - Let's talk:Australian Law and You Community Legal Education Package - 7 April 2016

Let's talk is a community legal education package about the Australian law and legal system. It can be delivered to people who have recently arrived in Australia in order to give them an overview of the Australian legal system.The Let's talk community legal education package aims to assist lawyers and other people who deliver training to recent arrivals on Australian law. The content has been developed for people who have lived in Australia for less than 5 years. > More

National Hardship Register - 2 March 2016

The purpose of the industry funded National Hardship Register is to protect those consumers who are experiencing long-term and severe financial hardship from unnecessary debt collection activity. > More

New Australian Law Reform Commission Inquiry - Protecting the Rights of Older Australians from Abuse - 24 February 2016

The Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC announced a new Inquiry for the ALRC on 'Protecting the Rights of Older Australians from Abuse' on 24 February 2016. The reporting date is May 2017. > More

Women and PayDay Lending - 24 February 2016

Good Shepherd Microfinance commissioned Digital Finance Analytics (DFA) to examine how women access and use payday loans. The report found women are using payday lending more. In 2005 about 84,000 women had used payday lending, but this had grown to 177,000 in 2015, a 110% rise compared to growth in the total industry in Australia of 80% over the same period. > More

Australian Pro Bono Centre has a new website - 24 February 2016

The Australian Pro Bono Centre's old website served the Centre and the community well for twelve years. We are proud to announce the launch of our new resource-rich and mobile-friendly website. > More

Law and Justice Foundation Grants Round Now Open - Closes 31 March 2016 - 20 January 2016

The Law and Justice Foundation of NSW's Grants Program supports community projects that improve access to justice, particularly for socially and economically disadvantaged people. The next round of applications for general grants to up to $50,000 will close on 31 March 2016. Click on the heading for more information. > More

NSW Law Society - NSW Courts require more than a band aid approach to funding - 20 January 2016

NSW Law Society President, Gary Ulman, calls for long term funding solutions to address NSW Court issues. Click on heading to read the full media statement. > More