Hundreds of people have already received free legal advice from the Rosebud Branch of Peninsula Community Legal Centre, which was officially opened on 12 May 2009 by the Hon. Rob Hulls, Deputy Premier, Attorney-General and Minister for Racing.
Peninsula Community Legal Centre is a non-profit organisation that has been providing free legal services for more than 30 years. With a catchment area that spans six local government areas (including the Mornington Peninsula Shire) – a population of over 800,000 people – the Centre has strived to ensure that its services are accessible. The Centre’s Head Office is in Frankston, with branch offices in the Pines (Frankston North), Bentleigh East, Cranbourne, and now Rosebud. The Centre also offers visiting outreach services and “telephone appointments” for clients who would have difficulty attending an office.
Chief Executive Officer of Peninsula Community Legal Centre, Helen Constas, says:
“Since the doors of our Rosebud Branch opened on 1 December 2009, we have seen a dramatic increase – around 200% – in the number of clients accessing our services. Clients are overwhelmingly in receipt of low income (less than $26,000 per annum) and often come to us at a time of personal crisis, with a cluster of interrelated legal, relationship, health and financial issues.
The Rosebud branch is open two days and one evening per week, offering free legal advice in most areas of law, with ongoing assistance targeted to help those who are disadvantaged and might otherwise “fall through the cracks”. Locals are also able to access the full range of free legal services offered by Peninsula Community Legal Centre, including its Programs in Family Law, Child Support, Tenant and Consumer Advocacy and Family Violence. The Centre also drafts free Wills and Powers of Attorney for pensioners and low income earners.
Community legal education is an important part of the Centre’s work, and the Rosebud branch has already played host to ‘Young Renters Workshops’, with ‘Grandparents Make a Difference: Free Family Law Workshops’ scheduled for Friday 15 May (International Day of Families).”
Peninsula Community Legal Centre has been providing free legal services on the Mornington Peninsula since 1990, since which time it has received financial support from the Mornington Peninsula Shire and its predecessors. Over the past five years, the Centre has received additional financial support from the Shire, the Department of Justice and Victoria Legal Aid to expand services, including fortnightly, then weekly, day and evening appointment sessions.
Speaking at the official opening were the Hon. Rob Hulls, Cr Anne Shaw (Mayor, Mornington Peninsula Shire), Bevan Warner (Managing Director, Victoria Legal Aid), Hugh de Kretser (Executive Officer, Federation of Community Legal Centres Victoria) and Chris Galagher (President of PCLC and Volunteer Lawyer). All praised the work of Peninsula Community Legal Centre, and reiterated the need for free legal services to ensure that justice is accessible for the most vulnerable members of our community.
Coinciding with Law Week and National Volunteer Week, speakers paid tribute to Peninsula Community Legal Centre’s team of 120 active volunteers, thanking them for their contribution to improving the lives of disadvantaged members of our community.
Ms Constas thanked all of the supporters of Peninsula Community Legal Centre, who had made the vision of a Rosebud Branch office a reality, including the Attorney-General, Victoria Legal Aid, Mornington Peninsula Shire, Southern Peninsula Community Support and Information Centre, and the Rotary Club of Rosebud who sponsored the Centre’s community launch, a sausage sizzle held in February 2009.
Peninsula Community Legal Centre’s Rosebud Branch is open 9am to 5pm Mondays and Thursdays, and Tuesday evenings by appointment. The office is located at 1375 Point Nepean Road, Rosebud, telephone 5981 2422.
12 May 2009
Contact: ANDREA FLORANCE MANAGER VOLUNTEER & EDUCATION PROGRAMS PENINSULA COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE INC. Tel: (03) 9783 3600 Extension 34