Legal centre CEO considering a part-time position to save funds

Some staff at the Launceston Community Legal Centre will go to part-time hours if funding to the centre is not increased.

The staffing uncertainty at the centre comes as the federal government prepares to slash funding to Tasmania’s Community Legal Centres by about $500,000 in the budget.

To offset the cuts and sustain funding the state government has pledged to provide $1.2 million to the centres through a one-off payment.

But Launceston Community Legal Centre chief executive officer Nicky Snare said the funding needed to be increased.

She said 83 per cent of the centre’s budget was allocated to wages.

If the government does not increase funding to the centre Mrs Snare said solicitors would likely look for new jobs.

“Five years ago the solicitors that I had were new solicitors, only a year out of law school - now they're five years on,” she said. 

“In order to keep them I need to give them as much money as we can afford.”

Mrs Snare is considering making her position and the centre’s receptionist position part-time to be able to allocate funds to other areas of the centre.

In this financial year the centre has turned away about 600 people due to a lack of resources and time to see them.

Mrs Snare said she would meet state Treasurer Peter Gutwein next week to discuss the funding and secure certainty for the centre. 

“We're hopeful that the state government continues to recognise the importance of Community Legal Centres,” she said.