Riverland Community Legal Services

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will reinstate a full-time, on-the-ground legal community service operating in the Riverland.

The Problem

After providing free legal advice and expertise for nearly 20 years, the Riverland Community Legal Service was forced by the Weatherill Labor Government to close its doors on 30 June 2017.

In its place, the Southern Community Justice Centre has been tasked with providing community legal services to the Riverland and Mallee with significantly less funding and an office based at Christies Beach, more than three hours’ drive from the Riverland.

The replacement service travels once a week to Berri and once a month to Waikerie, Morgan and Lameroo in the Mallee but this is an inadequate substitute for the previously funded Riverland Community Legal Service which had a full-time office based in Berri, conducting between 30-40 face-to-face appointments with clients per week.

The Riverland Community Legal Service previously provided outreach visits to Morgan, Waikerie, Cadell, Karoonda and Pinnaroo, and also offered a free duty solicitor service at the Berri Magistrates Court on days when Legal Aid Solicitors were not funded to attend.

Additionally, these centres were a great base for newly qualified lawyers wanting to get experience out of university and for student work experience.

The Legal Services Commission of SA annual report 2015-16 highlighted a high proportion of disadvantaged residents in the Riverland population demographic, classing the area under the category of ‘most disadvantage’.

Given the limited funding allocated to the current service to provide community legal advice in the Riverland and Mallee, the demand will not be met, which will put further strain on other community services.

The State Liberals' Plan

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will reinstate a full-time, on-the-ground legal community service operating in the Riverland.

This service will be located centrally in the Riverland and will provide services for the Riverland, Mallee and Mid Murray.

Many people seeking to use the community legal services have cases that are complex in nature and need in-person assistance to fully understand what they are going through.

This policy means people in the Riverland, Mallee and Mid Murray will be able to access community legal services in the region when they most need them.

Part of our plan for SA