Media Releases

March 5, 2013

For the first time in Australia, through a collaboration between Legal Aid NSW and Settlement Services International (SSI), people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds will be connected to accessible legal services.

Civil and family lawyers from Legal Aid NSW will provide legal advice services  on site to clients at Migrant Resource Centres as well as offer reqular education workshops about the Australian legal system.

Launching the partnership today in Parramatta, the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Senator Kate Lundy said she was pleased to launch this network of new services.

Settlement Services International CEO, Violet Roumeliotis and Legal Aid NSW CEO, Bill Grant said that with increased Commonwealth funding under the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services, NSW CALD communities can now access free family and civil law advice at regular outreach clinics held at Migrant Resource Centres.

“This unique and collaborative approach to service delivery with SSI is a first in Australia,” Mr Grant said.

The alliance was formed in response to a report released in 2012 by the Family Law Council (FLC) of Australia*, which found that the failure to address issues faced by CALD clients at an early stage was having detrimental effects on the long-term welfare of migrants.

“Legal aid lawyers will be on site at MRCs to provide early legal help in immigration and other civil law matters as well as family law matters relating to separation, children and property,” Mr Grant said.

Ms Roumeliotis said: “Our clients face myriad challenges when they are settling into Australia, and providing them with free legal advice in a familiar environment and with an interpreter, may help alleviate some of their conflicts or migration issues.”

“SSI is committed to ensuring that all migrants in NSW are supported so as to be able to fulfil their potential as members of the Australian community. I know that Legal Aid NSW shares our committment and together we strengthen the community and set a precedent for a first rate service delivery model,” she added.

The partnership sees family and civil law outreach clinics being provided at eight Migrant Resource Centres across Sydney, Central Coast and Wollongong..


SSI Media Contact:
Angela Calabrese, Marketing & Communications Manager, 0401 284 828

Legal Aid NSW Contact
Pia Van De Zandt, Media Officer,  0438 983908

*Improving the family law system for clients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
A report to the Attorney-General prepared by the Family Law Council, February 2012

Outreach Clinic locations:

SSI Member Organisation

Location

Family Law clinic

Civil Law clinic

Auburn Diversity Services

Auburn

 

 Yes

Liverpool Migrant Resource Centre

Liverpool

 Yes Yes

Fairfield Migrant Resource Centre

Cabramatta

 Yes  Yes

Sydney Multicultural Community Services

Daceyville

 Yes

 

SydWest Multicultural Services Inc.

Blacktown

 

 Yes

Metro Migrant Resource Centre

Campsie & Marrickville

 Yes

 

Northern Settlement Services

Bateau Bay

 Yes

 

Illawarra Multicultural Services

Wollongong

 Yes  Yes

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Ignite Small Business Start-ups client Karim.Karim* arrived in Australia in 2012 to seek asylum when it became unsafe for him to stay in Iran.

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