One of Queensland’s largest regional community legal services, TASC National, has warmly welcomed a five-year funding boost for its essential supports.
The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Yvette D’Ath, yesterday announced joint State-Commonwealth funding for TASC of $9.9 million over 2020-25. The ongoing funding will provide much-needed stability to the TASC network of Community Legal Centres, and their clients.
The CEO of TASC National, Frances Klaassen OAM, said she is delighted that regional communities will benefit from the government investment.
“TASC is a helping hand for some of the most vulnerable people in South West Queensland,”said Ms Klaassen.
“Most people we see are on low incomes, they could be senior Australians who can’t afford legal fees, they could be people living with a disability or people in a domestic violence situation.
“Through ongoing funding, we can keep providing legal and advocacy support to the people in our community who need it most – at the point in time when they need it”.
According to Ms Klaassen the news is well-timed, with TASC about to launch their first Strategic Plan since she started as CEO earlier in 2020.
Ms Klaassen came to the organisation from Mercy Community, where she led Families and Multicultural programs and was awarded a 2015 Order of Australia Medal for services to children and families.
“Despite the challenges of 2020, this is an incredibly exciting time for TASC,” said Ms Klaassen.
“Our Board, our team and our volunteers have worked tirelessly to build TASC’s reputation as a highly respected and valued service.
“The new funding recognises the wonderful work we do in the community. I’m privileged to now be part of taking our shared vision forward”.
Mr David Manwaring, TASC’s Principal Lawyer, said he is thankful for the opportunity to keep working with his valued clients.
“People in regional and remote Queensland desperately need access to community-based legal experts who can help them tackle challenging issues like debt, tenancy, relationship and family law disputes,” said Mr Manwaring.
“As well as helping our people in-person – or ‘virtually’ during COVID-19 – at TASC we run community education sessions and evening clinics, trying to reach as many people as we can,”.
Through the funding boost, said Mr Manwaring, “government is showing they support not just our clients, but the regional workforce of lawyers, paralegals, and all the future law students and volunteers coming through who want to make a difference to their local community”.