Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro today announced a boost of almost $5 million in Commonwealth funding for NSW’s legal assistance services.
Close to $3 million of funding has been directed to legal assistance services for individuals navigating insurance claims, tenancy issues, financial hardship, social security entitlements and other legal problems caused by the bushfires.
The remaining $2 million will be invested in legal services for small businesses and primary producers, allowing Legal Aid NSW to launch a new grants program for private lawyers who choose to deliver free legal services to local businesses impacted by bushfires.
The Funding Agreement will deliver the following legal assistance supports:
- Boost Legal Aid’s Disaster Response Legal Service to provide advice and referrals on issues including insurance claims, financial hardship, accommodation and CentreLink entitlements.
- Additional staff at five generalist Community Legal Centres (CLCs) in bushfire affected communities and three specialist CLCs delivering services to bushfire affected individuals.
- Increase the capacity of the Aboriginal Legal Service to provide its services to individuals in bushfire affected communities.
Businesses and primary producers
- Establish and promote a new grants policy for private practitioners to deliver legal services to small business and primary producers for bushfire related issues.
- Extend Justice Connect’s pro bono platform to link small business and primary producers with pro bono services.
- Support the Financial Rights Legal Centre to continue offering its services specialising in areas including consumer credit, banking, debt recovery and insurance to small business and primary producers.
See the full media release below.