November 29, 2017  |  Adjournment

West Heidelberg Community Legal Service

Mr CARBINES (Ivanhoe) (19:03:33) — (13 727) My adjournment matter is for the Attorney‑General, and the action I seek is that he favourably consider the funding applications of the West Heidelberg Community Legal Service in relation to the Community Legal Centre Family Violence Fund 2017–19 and the Community Legal Centre Assistance Fund 2017–19. Members may recall that last year, in the previous funding round, over $52 000 was provided to the West Heidelberg Community Legal Service from the family violence fund. The Attorney‑General was present at the West Heidelberg Community Legal Service to announce that grant.

The patron of the service, one of my constituents, former Premier John Cain, helped establish the West Heidelberg Community Legal Service, and he takes a very keen interest in its work. I want to also thank the principal lawyer, Stephanie Price, for her ongoing advocacy on behalf of the West Heidelberg community and her leadership of the community legal service at West Heidelberg, alongside the CEO of Banyule Community Health, Mick Geary.

Just touching on some of that work that can be achieved through the grant provided, they would be able to retain funding to support our dedicated family violence lawyer service for a further two years in this application that has been put forward. Since its commencement in November 2016, the family violence lawyer service has provided great services to more than 60 women, caring for more than 70 children, experiencing family violence. We have been able to ensure that in that first 10 months of the service delivery some 75 per cent of clients met with a family violence lawyer within a week of their initial presentation or referral, and we have also been able to ensure that of that number some 25 per cent approximately met with a lawyer within three days and a further 25 per cent met with a lawyer immediately or within one day. That is a very significant service that has been able to be provided thanks to the original grant. We want to continue that work into the future, so I certainly commend that application from the community legal service.

Can I say also that under the Community Legal Centre Assistance Fund for 2017–19 what we are seeking for the West Heidelberg Community Legal Service, through the application in particular that I support, is the funding to establish a family law advice‑based service to complement the successful dedicated family violence lawyer service already in place. These are very critical services. Thanks to previous grants that have been provided under the leadership of the Attorney‑General we have been able to put into practice legal support for vulnerable people and their families, for vulnerable women and their children, to get the legal advice they need in West Heidelberg at the community legal service.

These innovative programs that they would like to continue and expand go to the heart of the work of community legal services across Melbourne and Victoria, and the way in which we lead in best practice and innovative ways at West Heidelberg Community Legal Service commends these applications to the Attorney‑General for his consideration.