The Riverland Community Legal Service has provided more than 230 separate pieces of legal advice since the centre opened its doors late last year, new figures have revealed.
The Service commenced operations in December last year, with Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman saying the re-establishment of a face-to-face service in the region was clearly warranted.
“The establishment of a face-to-face community legal service in the Riverland was an election commitment made by this government, and the fact that there has been such high demand for services demonstrates why it’s so essential,” Attorney-General Chapman said.
“To date more than 260 matters have been dealt with by the service in some way, shape or form.
“By the end of the last financial year, the service had dispensed 230 pieces of legal advice, appeared in court on a further 28 matters and carried out six additional legal tasks – such as preparation or assistance with the drafting of documents.”
Ms Chapman said the face-to-face service has been based out of Berri, but also provided outreach services in other parts of the Riverland.
“This has included fortnightly face-to-face visits to Loxton and Renmark and as-needed visits to other parts of the region where clients are unable to deal with a matter either by phone or in person in Berri,” Ms Chapman said.
Attorney-General Chapman said the service was run by a dedicated team of two staff, both of whom lived in the region, with additional support from staff based out of other locations as needed.
“I thank the staff for their tireless commitment to supporting people in the region, and providing them with high-quality, free legal advice,” Ms Chapman said.
State Member for Chaffey, the Hon Tim Whetstone said he was pleased the service was being well utilised.
"The Centre has been operating for over six months with the strong uptake indicative of the positive effect it is having on our local community and the desire from locals to have face-to-face services,” Mr Whetstone said.
"This facility is going a long way to help break down the barriers for many in the Riverland, giving everyone in the region a fair opportunity to speak with someone that can give them sound legal advice and support without the added financial pressures of travelling to access services.”
“We know it can be difficult in regional areas for people facing legal problems and I’m pleased that our Government has delivered a service that is so important to the Riverland.”