Farmers, small businesses and communities recovering from bushfires are set to benefit from close to $5 million in Commonwealth funding for NSW's legal assistance services.
Goulburn MP Wendy Tuckerman said the investment would play an important role in helping the electorate recover from the devastating bushfire season.
"The fires not only caused the loss of life, homes, livestock and property, but in their wake, the flames also left many people across our community with difficult legal problems," Mrs Tuckerman said.
"For anyone who faces insurance claims, tenancy issues, financial hardship, social security entitlements and other legal problems caused by the bushfires, this investment will mean they have access to more free legal support."
Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro said the funding will boost a range of legal assistance services and programs. "This will allow Legal Aid NSW to launch a new grants program, enabling private lawyers to access grants to deliver free legal services to businesses impacted by bushfires."
Today's $4.9 million Bushfire Funding Agreement is part of the Australian Government's $2 billion response to the 2019-20 Bushfire Disaster over two years.
The support includes:
- 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 and three specialist CLCs.
- Increase the capacity of the Aboriginal Legal Service to provide its services 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 in offering its services.