The extreme limitations of the previous space meant the various centres were unable to accommodate even the existing staff, with solicitors and advocates sharing offices and located in thoroughfares. The lack of space hindered growth and the ability to meet a growing demand; and centres were often unable take up much valued offers of volunteer and pro bono assistance. Despite this, the financial and collegiate benefits, not to mention the benefit to clients, of the community legal centres remaining co-located was very important to all parties. With the generous support of the ACT government, funding was announced in the 2013 budget. The new CLC Hub means the centres remain together and are able (should increasingly scarce funding allow it) to expand to meet community need. Already the centres are taking on more volunteers and pro bono secondees and are positioned to host events such as community consultations on the Residential Tenancies Act review.
NAOMI GOULD is a Solicitor with the Welfare Rights and Legal Centre.