Labor pledges legal centre funding of $180,000 over four years

Joanne Ryan. Picture: Damjan Janevski.

A federal Labor pledge of funding has been welcomed by a Werribee-based community legal centre.

WEstjustice Community Legal Centre special projects lawyer Stephanie Tomkin said the promise of $180,000 over four years was great news.

“We welcome any funding that would enable us to target and extend our priority clients, the most vulnerable in the community,” Ms Tomkin said.

She said the legal centre’s client base was made up largely of refugee or newly settled communities, victims of domestic violence and young people.

She said the centre, which had been the subject of cuts by government, delivered numerous early intervention services and often formed partnerships with community and health organisations to offer more services.

Federal Lalor MP Joanne Ryan said the funding, part of Labor’s $43 million commitment to frontline legal services, would ensure that WEstjustice had the resources needed to keep its doors open.

“Because of the damaging cuts under the Liberal government, 160,000 people were turned away from community legal centres last year alone,” she said.

“I know that locally it’s hurt the most vulnerable in our community – victims of domestic violence and financial scams.”