The Greens’ Shane Rattenbury is pointing out that it’s a crying shame lawyers offering to volunteer their time for community work at the Community Legal Centres are being turned away because the ACT Government will not (and has no plans to) provide enough cheap office space to make use of this high price asset.
“Community Legal Centres don’t have enough desks and telephones to go around. The Centres are being forced to turn away volunteer lawyers simply because they don’t have anywhere to put them,” Greens Attorney General spokesperson, Shane Rattenbury, said today.
“By taking the first step of looking around for vacant office space, the Government could start to improve access to justice immediately.
“The Minister today said there was no plan to get moving on this in 2010-11, and gave no guarantee to act in following years either.
Who would have thought Simon Corbell would be at the heart of this one?
UPDATE: The Minister has availed himself of the comments section to make this response:
21:55, 25 May 10
The Government is committed to addressing this situation and I have already indicated my department will work community legal centres to identify solutions to the problem. Unfortunately community legal centres did not draw this matter to my attention until the budget was almost finalised, leaving no opportunity to consider funding for the forthcoming financial year. If budget funding is required it will be considered during consideration of next years budget. Unfortunately Shane Rattenbury failed to acknowledge my comments in this regard in his media statement.