RLC in the Media: Redfern Legal Centre Celebrates 40 years

One of NSW's pioneering providers of community-based law is marking its 40th birthday with a fundraising push to further diversify its revenue streams and ensure it can continue to provide key services.

By Lynn Elsey. Published by the Law Society Journal of NSW, March 2017.

One of NSW's pioneering providers of community-based law is marking its 40th birthday with a fundraising push to further diversify its revenue streams and ensure it can continue to provide key services.

The Redfern Legal Centre (RLC) was founded in 1977 to give the less advantaged access to the law. As Australia’s second full-time, community-based legal centre, it quickly became a magnet for community-focused lawyers who helped improve justice and rights for a wide range of Australians including Indigenous people, gay people and prisoners, along with filling unmet gaps in legal services.

The centre’s core work on housing and other poverty issues also helped form the basis of a network of government-funded centres across the state.

“Community support is an integral part of providing service,” says Finn O’Keefe, communications and volunteer manager at the RLC. “Our community is far-reaching, ranging from local catchment areas to state-wide services, such as police complaints and international student clinics.”

Although the centre provides individual assistance on topics such as tenancy, housing and domestic violence it also works across broader areas and issues, including submissions to Parliament and overseas organisations “in order to provide more than just a Band-Aid solution and to achieve long-lasting change,” O’Keefe says.

The birthday event, at Sydney Town Hall on 27 April, will feature a fundraising dinner and auction to celebrate the achievements of the centre and to address a potential funding gap in the 2017–18 budget, when the centre faces a 30 per cent funding cut due to government austerity measures.

“It will be like a friend’s 40th birthday,” says Liz Clark, the RLC’s fundraising manager. “And an event to make sure we’re around for another 60 years and still be an innovator in providing services.”

Read the original article on the Law Society of NSW's website.