A Gold Coast volunteer legal centre that created a petition earlier this year calling for funding from the Queensland Government, has revealed they are experiencing overwhelming demand.
President of the Robina Community Legal Centre Ross Lee said they have had to turn away people, including Domestic Violence victims, as a result of the high demand currently being felt.
“This year we will deal with 1200-1500 clients…with one third of our client population indicating some form of Domestic Violence,” Mr Lee said.
“We run nine to ten advice desks every Thursday night, which is up significantly from previous years.”
“Funding certainty would mean that we could directly expand the free, frontline services we offer, increase our case load and ensure we have the administrative and support staff to help those who approach us in times of need,” he said.
State Member for Mudgeeraba and Shadow Minister for Communities, Child Safety, Disabilities Services and the Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Ros Bates said it is essential that victims have somewhere to turn when they need help.
“It is as important as ever that the Government funds these vital legal services. I am disheartened to hear that due to the Robina CLC remaining unfunded…they have had to turn away victims of domestic violence,” Ms Bates said.
“The Federal Coalition Government has announced $30 million in funding for legal assistance services… but we have yet to see the State Labor Government commit to matching this funding.”
“It appears that time after time the Robina Community Legal Centre’s requests for funding from this Government have been turned down,” she said.
Gold Coast City Councillor Hermann Vorster said it is important our Community Legal Centres are properly resourced and funded.
“The Gold Coast has few Community Legal Centres compared to other areas in Queensland…I will be a strong advocate for our local centres to ensure it gets the funding it deserves,” Cr Vorster said.
“It is absolutely tragic that any one in desperate need is turned away, particularly those who are struggling with domestic violence issues.”
“Volunteers at the Robina Community Legal Centre carry enormous burden and I fully support their modest funding ask from the State Government,” he said.
The petition closed earlier this month and received 837 signatures in total. Queensland’s Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath has until June 7 to respond to the petition.