A REPORT into the legal representation available to the disadvantaged in Eden-Monaro has found huge gaps in services.
Gabrielle Powell from the Women’s Resource Centre in Bega said the report highlights the need for more publicly funded legal services.
“We will be using this report to lobby federal and state politicians to address this funding gap,” she said.
“Ultimately we need a community legal centre, but in the interim we desperately need more outreach, more hours with legal aid solicitors.”
The WRC and Southern Women’s Group, in conjunction with the Shoalcoast Community Legal Service, recently commissioned a report from the Law and Justice Foundation into the issue.
The report is an overview of the legal needs of South East residents covering an area from Bega Valley to Bombala and Cooma and notes there are high rates of disadvantage throughout the area.
“There are significant numbers of disadvantaged living in the South East including Aboriginal people, single parents, older people and people with disabilities, and they all struggle to access legal services,” Ms Powell said
“In addition there are high levels of unemployment, low education levels compared to NSW state averages and lower rates of internet connectivity.
“More needs to be done to meet the legal needs of these people accessible beyond a few hours a month from visiting solicitors.”
Ms Powell urges anyone concerned to contact Member for Bega Andrew Constance or Member for Eden-Monaro Peter Hendy.
Ms Powell said anyone interested in getting a copy of the report or a draft letter to send their local member should contact her at the Women’s Resource Centre on 6492 1367.