Brisbane’s LGBTI Legal Service has secured funding from the Queensland government for the first time since it began in 2009.
The service is run by volunteers and provides free legal advice to people facing legal problems relating to their identification as LGBTI or where they prefer to speak with an LGBTI-friendly professional.
Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath (pictured, third from right) announced on Monday the service would receive $409,000 in funding over three years from July 1, as part of $51.3 million in state and commonwealth funding for the state’s community legal centres.
“Under the new funding allocation for the next three years, the LGBTI Legal Service will receive funding for the first time, to help implement our government’s significant reforms for the LGBTI community,” Ms D’Ath said.
LGBTI Legal Service president Matilda Alexander said the team are celebrating the state government’s announcement and it would greatly benefit LGBTI Queenslanders.
“The LGBTI Legal Service has been providing free legal services for over six years without funding, and is the only standalone community legal centre in Australia specialising in helping LGBTI people with legal problems,” she said.
“An increasing number of clients have been reaching out, and without government funding, the Service has had no capacity to do any ongoing casework. It is common to have to turn away clients because of the restricted capacity of our volunteer lawyers who can only accomplish a limited amount in the time available.
“With this money, we will be able to support LGBTI people experiencing domestic violence, to assist victims of crime, to provide specialist family law advice service, to support transgender people to transition and to eliminate discrimination in our workplaces.”
Brisbane family lawyer and one of the service’s founding volunteers Stephen Page (pictured, second from right) said the LGBTI Legal Service will soon celebrate its 7th birthday and it was the only community legal centre in the state to receive no government funding.
“LGBTI people are the most vulnerable, on a range of categories, including domestic violence and discrimination, so with this funding they might at long last get better protection,” he said.
The Attorney-General said 36 community legal services have been successful in securing government funding for the next three years.
The LGBTI Legal Service hold sessions every Wednesday evening at 30 Helen Street in Newstead. To make a booking, email [email protected] or call 0401 936 232.
(Photo via Facebook)