Response to Article ‘Cash-Strapped Suburb of Debt’ Frankston Standard / Hastings Leader, 14 September 2009

Responsible lending is the key to lessening financial distress, says Peninsula Community Legal Centre, an organisation that provides free legal services in Melbourne’s outer south eastern suburbs and adjoining rural areas.

Chief Executive Officer, Helen Constas, says:

“We are concerned to hear that, as a result of Dun & Bradstreet’s recent geographic consumer credit risk study, suburbs such as Frankston North are being labelled as “high risk” for loan defaults.

In any one geographical area, potential borrowers and borrowers have a multitude of varying circumstances. Appropriate lending based on assets, liabilities and capacity to re-pay are the only genuine indicators that lenders should consider in determining whether or not a loan should be offered. We hope that geography won’t become a lending criterion in the future.

As an organisation assisting disadvantaged clients with a range of legal issues, including credit and debt, we commonly see the human – as well as economic – cost of unscrupulous lending practices.”

For more information about free legal services, please contact Peninsula Community Legal Centre on (03) 9783 3600 or visit www.pclc.org.au.

END.

16 September 2009

Contact: ANDREA FLORANCE MANAGER – VOLUNTEER & EDUCATION PROGRAMS PENINSULA COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE INC. Tel: (03) 9783 3600 Extension 34

Help for Caravan Pak & Rooming House Residents

Many people make a lifestyle choice to live in residential and caravan parks, they have considered their options and decided that this is the one which best suits their current situation. However, for an ever increasing number of people, caravan parks and rooming houses are the only option left for emergency and longer-term accommodation. Often community organisations and housing groups have little option but to place and fund people into this accommodation.

There is growing concern that people in this situation are often reluctant to exercise their rights as residents. This is because many are afraid that they will jeopardise their final housing option and risk becoming homeless.

The Peninsula Community Legal Centre (PCLC) Caravan Park & Rooming House Outreach Project is based in Frankston, but operates across most of the eastern and southern metropolitan regions of Melbourne. The Project aims to assist residents of caravan parks, residential parks, rooming houses and student rooming houses in their negotiations with owners and operators, by informing them about their rights and responsibilities, and about services available to assist them and of how to access these.

The Project is also playing an important role in bringing together knowledge about the experiences of people living in caravan parks and rooming houses and the issues confronting them.

“The PCLC Caravan Park & Rooming House Outreach Project is aiming to contribute to the knowledge and debate which will help to inform good social policy and appropriate regulatory frameworks. Ultimately, we all want to ensure that caravan parks and rooming houses are a safe housing option and the rights of residents are protected” said Ms Constas.

For more information about the PCLC Caravan Park & Rooming House Outreach Project and other services, please phone 9783 3600 or check PCLC’s website www.pclc.org.au .

2 September 2009

Contact: Gillian Wilks Manager – Projects & Development Peninsula Community Legal Centre Inc. Ph: 9783 3600 ext 28.

PRESS RELEASE – FREE LEGAL SERVICES IN HIGH DEMAND

Peninsula Community Legal Centre is experiencing high demand for free legal services at its Cranbourne office.

Chief Executive Officer, Helen Constas, says:

“Peninsula Community Legal Centre has been providing free legal services to the Cranbourne and surrounding communities for almost 20 years. Recognising the need for local, free legal services, the Victorian Government provided funding for the Centre to open a branch office in Cranbourne in 2005.

The Centre’s Cranbourne office operates five days and one evening each week, offering free legal advice on most areas of law, with ongoing assistance targeted to assist clients experiencing disadvantage. The Centre also offers dedicated Family Law, Child Support, Family Violence, Tenant and Consumer Programs, and a range of community legal education and special projects.

In the past year at our Cranbourne branch, we have experienced an increase of around 25% in clients seeking help with debts and bankruptcy, and our family law services are continually in high demand.

Peninsula CLC’s Family Law Program, which provides duty lawyer services at the nearby Dandenong Family Law Courts, as well as advice and ongoing assistance, has been under increased pressure as a result of reduced Victoria Legal Aid funding for family law matters, which has also meant that a number of private lawyers have opted out of doing legal aid work. We have observed an increase in self-represented litigants, adding to pressures on duty lawyer services. In the past financial year, we had an increase of around 16% in client activities at the Dandenong Family Law Courts.

Given the current funding shortages at Victoria Legal Aid, and impact of the global financial crisis, we can expect the already high demand for our free legal services to further increase in the coming year.”

END.

24 July 2009

Contact: ANDREA FLORANCE MANAGER – VOLUNTEER & EDUCATION PROGRAMS PENINSULA COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE INC. Tel: (03) 9783 3600 Extension 34

Press Release to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Groups

If you need a lawyer, or information about the law, Peninsula Community Legal Centre can help.

The Centre provides free legal services and can arrange interpreters if needed. Every year the Centre helps thousands of people with legal issues, such as family separation, family violence, disputes with neighbours, car accidents, fines and much more.

Services are available to anyone who lives, works or studies in the municipalities of Frankston, Kingston, Casey, Glen Eira, Mornington Peninsula and Cardinia.

Workers at the Centre believe that everyone should be treated fairly, and are committed to helping people use the law to protect their rights and freedoms. Your privacy is assured at all times.

For more information, or to make an appointment, please contact Peninsula Community Legal Centre on 9783 3600 or 1800 064 784.