NEW FUNDING FOR BENDIGO’S HEALTH JUSTICE PARTNERSHIP

The Andrews Labor Government today announced $200,000 of funding to ensure the Bendigo Health Justice Partnership can continue to help vulnerable Victorians until 2020.

This partnership has successfully operated formally since 2014 and enables a lawyer from Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre to be on site at the Bendigo Community Health Service, ensuring that locals have access to integrated health and legal support.

Legal staff have also helped health professionals recognise legal issues when treating vulnerable clients, including where people are experiencing family violence.

The funding for Bendigo is part of a $1.6 million package for eight Health Justice Partnerships across Victoria that were at risk of being discontinued when their current funding expires.

Each partnership is receiving $200,000 over two years to ensure their continuation.

By operating out of non-traditional legal settings, the partnerships improve the effectiveness of legal and health professionals in meeting the needs of vulnerable Victorians.

Health Justice Partnerships were introduced in 2014 after evidence showed vulnerable people experiencing legal issues were more likely to talk to a trusted heath professional than a lawyer. Health issues and legal difficulties are also often closely related.

In 2016, the Royal Commission into Family Violence and the Access to Justice Review both recognised the value of integrated partnerships in maximising the reach of legal assistance to the most vulnerable members of the community.

Quote attributable to Attorney-General Martin Pakula

“We’re funding Health Justice Partnerships across Victoria because they help vulnerable people access the health and legal services they need.”

Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards

“We’re proud to be supporting the work of the Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre which makes sure some of the most vulnerable members of the community have access to justice.”

Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan

“The Health Justice Partnership provides vital assistance to some of the most disadvantaged members of the Bendigo community, and this funding will ensure it can continue to operate until 2020.”

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