Each financial year, contingency funding is set aside from the Legal Assistance Services Program (LASP) to enable the Queensland Government to adapt to the changing needs of the community.
The program recognises that new and unforeseen areas of legal need may emerge during the funding cycle.
To be eligible for contingency funding, a community organisation must currently receive funding under the LASP to deliver legal assistance or peak services.
In the event of an emergency or unforeseen service delivery expense (e.g. natural disaster, sudden and unforeseen need to relocate), community organisations may submit a request for contingency funding to the Director-General, Department of Justice and Attorney-General (DJAG).
Contingency funding for responses to COVID-19
We have received requests for contingency funding from community organisations responding to the unique challenges imposed on the legal assistance sector by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 1 April 2020, DJAG approved the allocation of $120,000 to the Prisoners’ Legal Service (PLS) to implement an emergency strategy for dealing with parole matters.
PLS developed this strategy after consulting with the Parole Board Queensland, who is receptive to fast-tracking consideration of parole for people in prison who are vulnerable to COVID-19 and who pose a low risk to the community.
Further, on 29 April 2020, we approved the allocation of $5,000 to Community Legal Centres Queensland (CLCQ) to provide support to Community Legal Centre (CLC) staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CLCQ will provide CLCs with online training and coaching in the areas of:
- recognising and responding to employee or co-worker mental health issues
- conversations to support managing stress and burnout in times of rapid change and high demand
- responding to grief when an employee experiences loss
- balancing performance management while maximising opportunities to promote wellness
- developing communication skills for offsite working.
Due to the impacts of COVID-19, a procurement process to allocate the balance of 2019–20 will not be undertaken.
Contingency funding—June 2020
Due to the COVID-19 event, we were unable to invite community organisations to apply for contingency funding through a procurement process in early 2020. However, in June 2020 requests for funding were received from:
- Gold Coast Community Legal Centre and Advice Bureau
- Prisoners’ Legal Service (PLS).
On 30 June 2020, we approved the allocation of:
- $21,790 to Gold Coast Community Legal Centre to allow for maintenance to the building
- $40,000 to PLS to allow for continued assistance with parole matters for the first quarter of 2020–21.
Contingency funding over 2020–25
We have set aside $1.237M in contingency funding for 2020–25:
How we allocate contingency funding
Over 2017–20, $300,000 per year of contingency funding was set aside under the legal assistance services program (the LASP), enabling us to adapt to the changing needs of the legal assistance sector and recognising that new and unforeseen areas of legal need may emerge during the funding cycle.
In April 2019, we approved a new process and policy for allocating contingency funding that states if a significant balance remains by 1 April each financial year ($50,000 or more), all community organisations funded under the LASP will be invited to apply to cover an emerging community legal need (as part of a procurement process).
In May 2019, all community organisations funded under the LASP were invited to apply for contingency funding. The application process opened on 21 May 2019 and closed on 4 June 2019. We received and evaluated 10 applications and allocated funding to 2 community organisations.
Refugee and Immigration Legal Service
The Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS) was allocated $77,000 for providing Temporary Protection Visa Expiry Clinics (TPV Clinics).
This service focuses on the complex and frequently changing legal need of refugees in Queensland affected by the imminent expiry of their Temporary Protection Visas (TPV).
The service specifically addresses the vulnerable cohort of refugees living in Queensland. The TPV Clinics provide point-in-time help in making their TPV applications.
This not only keeps them from being placed in detention, but also mitigates other potential adverse impacts, such as loss of the right to work, loss of income support, loss of Medicare benefits, and homelessness.
HUB Community Legal
HUB Community Legal (formerly South West Brisbane Community Legal Centre) was allocated $4,400 to translate brochures and other primary client materials into the key languages spoken in their community.
Having brochures and other materials available in these languages communicates the organisation’s culturally sensitive and welcoming approach to CALD people and will help the legal service build relationships and making services more accessible.
How to request contingency funding
In the event of an emergency, community organisations who wish to apply for contingency funding, must forward a written request to the Director-General, DJAG for consideration. This only applies to organisations already funded under the LASP to deliver legal assistance or peak services