Media release – inaugural funding – 27 March 2017 (Please follow this link for additional background)

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex (LGBTI) Queenslanders have welcomed today’s announcement that the volunteer-run LGBTI Legal Service will receive funding from the Queensland Government, meaning more LGBTI Queenslanders will be able to get legal help.

‘There are many LGBTI people with legal issues which are hidden and closeted, but they show a portrait of disadvantage, including mental illness and drug use, employment problems, homelessness and poverty, and generally lower health outcomes,’ said Matilda Alexander, President of the LGBTI Legal Service. ‘Research shows that LGBTI people are also less likely to access to legal remedies and health and community services.’

‘LGBTI Legal Service has been providing free legal services for over six years without funding, and is the only standalone community legal centre in Australia specialising in helping LGBTI people with legal problems,’ said Ms Alexander. ‘An increasing number of clients have been reaching out, and without government funding, the Service has had no capacity to do any ongoing casework. It is common to have to turn away clients because of the restricted capacity of our volunteer lawyers who can only accomplish a limited amount in the time available.’

‘Over the past two years, Yvette D’Ath has introduced significant legislative changes to fix outdated laws that stigmatised and marginalised members of our community. She has taken historic action to address this structural discrimination and sent a clear message to all Queenslanders of equality, safety and fairness. We have called this a legislative rainbow revolution.’

We applaud and celebrate this next groundbreaking step: providing the inaugural funding to the LGBTI Legal Service. With this money, we will be able to support LGBTI people experiencing domestic violence, to assist victims of crime, to provide specialist family law advice service, to support transgender people to transition and to eliminate discrimination in our workplaces. We now have the capacity to pursue justice and to make equality a reality for Queenslanders.’

‘LGBTI Queenslanders face the same legal problems as everyone else, as well as issues that are specific to people with diverse sexuality and gender identity,’ said Scott McDougall from Caxton Legal Service. ‘We join with other LGBTI Queenslanders to welcome today’s announcement that the LGBTI Legal Service will receive funding to provide more legal help across the state. This funding will allow the Service to do important work, and we’re pleased that the Queensland Government is supporting these vital services.’

‘With six years’ experience of providing quality legal help to people facing legal problems, it’s great to see the Queensland Government recognize the value of LGBTI Legal Service and the work they do,’ said James Farrell, Director of Community Legal Centres Queensland. ‘Sadly, this announcement comes as community legal centres across the state face a significant funding cut from the federal government. While funding for services like this one are welcome and important, we again call on Malcolm Turnbull and George Brandis to reverse the funding cuts to community legal centres, to ensure all Queenslanders can access the legal help they need and the justice they deserve.’

Find out more about LGBTI Legal Service at http://www.lgbtilegalservice.org/.

Media Contacts:

Matilda Alexander, LGBTI Legal Service 0421 201 951 | president@lgbtilegalservice.org

Scott McDougall, Caxton Legal Service T (07) 3214 6333 | scott@caxton.org.au

James Farrell, Community Legal Centres Queensland 0411 206 835 | director@communitylegalqld.org.au