Australian Greens spokesperson for legal affairs, Senator Penny Wright, today joined community groups in calling on the Government to address the funding crisis and level of unmet need in the community legal sector.
"New research out today confirms what we have known for a long time: community legal centres are struggling to meet demand, waiting lists are increasing and approximately 14 per cent of people who sought assistance in 2010/11 were turned away," Senator Wright said.
"Alongside this research, over recent months community organisations have highlighted that approximately 500,000 Australians are missing out on essential legal services yet funding cuts to these services continue despite community need.
"This clearly shows a system in crisis and requires immediate action, including greater investment in community legal centres and better targeting of resources to meet community needs.
"Community Legal Centres fill a significant gap in the provision of legal services for those Australians who can otherwise not afford legal representation, including low income earners and people from non-English speaking backgrounds.
"Properly funding Community Legal Centres pays dividends; for every $1 spent on Community Legal Centres governments will save $100 in justice system spending further down the track."