Free legal aid access

ELIGIBLE people living in and around Gloucester can now get regular, free legal assistance for civil law issues.

Bucketts Way Neighbourhood Group and the Legal Aid Newcastle office have teamed up to provide fortnightly free legal advice services. 

The advice will be provided via web-conference or telephone by lawyers from Legal Aid NSW. 

Clients will be supported by staff from Bucketts Way Neighbourhood Group to use technology to access lawyers.

People can get assistance with problems including: debt and money issues; problems with housing; issues with Centrelink payments and Centrelink debts; issues with employment; guardianship and powers of attorney; fines and traffic offences; driver’s licence suspensions; car accidents; buying goods and services; AVOs; discrimination; and problems with police.

“The use of telephone and web conferencing is an innovative way of facilitating access to legal services for people living in Gloucester,” chief executive of Legal Aid NSW Bill Grant said. 

“It is important that people can get help with common legal problems such as credit and debt, employment law and tenancy issues. Problems such as these can have a very big impact on people’s lives.

“Getting advice early can help people understand their situation and what they can do about it and, in some cases, find a way to pursue their rights and entitlements,” Mr Grant said.

 The initiative was formulated out of Bucketts Way Neighbourhood Group’s community development worker Kelley Chapman advocating for the community to have a free legal presence in Gloucester. 

“It is exciting as Legal Aid has not convened its clinics utilising technology in delivering their service, via web cam, in this manner previously. Essentially Gloucester is a pilot service,” she said. 

“If the service proves to be successful the initiative will be able to be delivered into other rural isolated communities which will potentially support once unreachable communities due to time and cost restraints.” 

The clinics will be held at Bucketts Way Neighbourhood Group at 14 Queen St every second and fourth Thursday of the month from 9.30am to 12pm. Bookings can be made by calling 

Kelley Chapman on 6558 2058 or email neigh.centre@bwng.org.au 

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