Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt says Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie needs to guarantee the future funding of the Cairns Community Legal Centre, after the funding for the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) was scrapped.
“Mr Bleijie needs to explain why he does not want to support projects which level the legal playing field for some of the most vulnerable, disadvantaged and marginalised people across Queensland,” Mr Pitt said.
“EDO was funded through the Legal Practitioner Interest on Trust Accounts Fund (LPITAF) which provides grants to legal advice groups supporting some of Queensland’s most vulnerable people.
“Mr Bleijie said on ABC Radio the withdrawing of funding to EDO was more about settling political scores rather than any questions of their performance.
“Mr Bleijie also said, funding of all community legal centres needs to be looked at, putting further doubt on the future of the Cairns Community Legal Centre.
“This funding helps support Indigenous people, the financially-disadvantaged, people with disabilities, refugees and other vulnerable groups throughout Queensland.
“The Cairns Community Legal Centre was a previous recipient of these grants.”
Mr Pitt said Mr Bleijie needs to explain where the interest collected from LPITAF is being spent if it is not being used to support community legal centres.
“Mr Bleijie also needs to detail the future of the fund itself,” Mr Pitt said.
“Is the Attorney-General using this funding to mount his $300,000 High Court challenge against the mining tax.
“This LNP Government says they have to sack thousands of government workers and slash funding to community projects such as LPITAF, because the state has no money, yet they can find money to fund a High Court challenge against the mining tax.
“And $300,000 is nearly as much as the Tenants’ Participation Program axed only a couple of weeks ago by the Newman Government.
“This is another example of the twisted priorities of the Newman Government.”
Previous recipients of LPITAF grants include:
• Cairns Community Legal Centre Inc
• Caxton Legal Centre Inc
• Centacare: Catholic Diocese Rockhampton
• Hinchinbrook Community Support Centre Inc
• Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network Ltd
• North Queensland Women’s Legal Service Inc
• South West Brisbane Community Legal Centre Inc
• Suncoast Community Legal Service Inc
• Townsville Community Justice Group