WEstjustice welcomes funding boost for COVID-19 and settlement-justice partnership

WEstjustice welcomes the State Government’s announcement today by the Attorney-General Jill Hennessy of an additional $17.5 million to support community legal centres delivering front line services during the coronavirus crisis and beyond. The inclusion funding for technological upgrades will assist with remote services delivery and improve data collection systems to assist evidencing need and improve overall efficiencies and volume.

WEstjustice CEO Melissa Hardham said the funding was critical to help community legal centres like WEstjustice to meet demand.

We know that our communities in the West have been hit hard by the effects of the coronavirus in a multitude of legal areas, including tenancy, unemployment, mortgage stress, debt, fines and family violence. This additional funding will increase our capacity to deliver frontline services and provide legal education regarding rights and responsibilities during an extremely difficult and confusing time.”

In addition, WEstjustice is excited to be one of three organisations to receive an additional grant. WEstjustice will commit these funds to a new and innovative multidisciplinary ‘in situ’ partnership with local settlement services to ensure that women and children, recent arrivals, refugees and asylum seekers benefit from an integrated ‘client centred’ services model.

Melissa Hardham said this funding was an important recognition of the centre’s innovative settlement-justice partnership model.  

“This project aims to improve the settlement outcomes of newly arrived migrant and refugee communities in Melbourne’s West by increasing access to justice and ultimately improving social cohesion.”

“Newly arrived people are vulnerable to multiple legal and non-legal problems. Shortly after arrival in Australia they are required to negotiate everyday yet complex civil law issues, particularly: consumer issues (including credit, debt and unfair contracts), housing and tenancy, energy and utilities, employment (including discrimination), insurance, driving-related and other infringements and motor vehicle accidents.”

“Unresolved legal problems can result in a range of consequences among recent arrivals, depending on their circumstances – including shame, stress, debt leading to bankruptcy, insecure housing and lack of employment opportunities. In the long term, this can lead to negative ongoing settlement outcomes. The coronavirus has exacerbated these issues and increased confusion and vulnerability.”

“At WEstjustice, our aim is to provide coordinated and integrated legal support and education within local settlement services to break these cycles and address the associated complex problems.”  

WE are located

  • Footscray
  • Werribee
  • Sunshine
Footscray

Level 1 / 72 Buckley Street, Footscray VIC 3011

Tel: + 61 3 9749 7720
Fax: + 61 3 9749 8276
Email:  admin@westjustice.org.au

Office hours:
Monday to Friday, 9.30am-1.00pm and 2:00pm-5:00pm. (Office currently closed due to COVID-19 situation)

Please call us to get legal help (appointment time needed).

Werribee

Level 1 / 8 Watton Street, Werribee VIC 3030

Tel: + 61 3 9749 7720
Fax: + 61 3 9749 8276
Email:  admin@westjustice.org.au

Office hours:
Monday to Friday, 9.00am-5:00pm. (Office currently closed due to COVID-19 situation)

Please call us to get legal help (appointment time needed).

Sunshine

Visy Cares Hub, 80B Harvester Road, Sunshine VIC 3020

Tel: + 61 3 9091 8237
Fax: + 61 3 9091 8207
Email:  sunshine@westjustice.org.au

Office hours:
Monday, Wednesday & Friday, 9.30am-1.00pm and 2.00pm-4.30pm.

Drop-in service on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 9.30am-4.30pm, for people up to 25 years old ONLY.