We make policy and law reform submissions as part of our efforts to represent the concerns of our clients and promote social justice for the wider community.
Inquiry into the Victorian Government’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
We provided a submission in relation to impacts on the communities we serve, who are facing the burdens of the pandemic and associated measures within a frame of significant economic, social and health-based disadvantage. The social determinants of health and risk factors are not static and for many, the COVID conditions have amplified the impact of particular or intersecting determinants, such as stress, addiction/ drug or alcohol dependence, diagnosed psychiatric cognitive and/ or physical disability, income, lack of safe housing, criminalisation, social exclusion, discrimination, vulnerability to violence. Through the course of our work, we have sought to draw attention to other communities with high vulnerability to infection, adverse outcomes including fatalities, and with complex health and social conditions, as well as literacy barriers, requiring flexibility in approaches to further the global objectives of public health.
Inquiry into use of Cannabis in Victoria, Legislative Council Legal & Social Issues Committee
On 14 September we provided our submission to this Inquiry. Our submission highlighted that the criminal justice system fails, and manifestly has done so over decades, despite enormous and blind commitment and investment, to deliver to Victorians meaningful public health outcomes in the context of the ‘war on drugs’. Conversely, we draw attention to the persistent and cumulative ways in which the criminal justice instead drives harmful public health outcomes, many of which we believe, in the context of cannabis use, are perhaps unintended, and disproportionate to public expectations and norms.
In partnership with the Darebin Community Legal Centre we provided a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission's Review of the Family Law System. For users of the system who come from vulnerable and marginalised sectors of society, the formality, inflexibility and lack of cultural competence of the system combine to create substantial barriers to access at what is often the most difficult time of their lives.
We supported a joint submission with a number of Community Legal Centres to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Public Housing Renewal Program.
Submission to the Inquiry into the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Centre) Bill 2017.
Submission to the Social Housing Renewal Standing Advisory Committee on proposed sites to be affected - Gronn Place Estate (Brunswick West), Bellbardia and Tarakan Estates (Heidelberg West) and Walker Street Estate (Northcote).
Submission to the Victorian Government's Inquiry into Drug Law Reform highlighting the failure of the current law and order approach to drug control in minimising harms associated with drug use.
Submission to the City of Melbourne regarding proposed amendments to the Activities (Public Amenity and Security) Local Law 2009. The Amending Law may reduce the visibility of the homeless but it will not reduce the number of homeless persons.
Coronial Inquest into Heroin related overdoses
In May 2016, a woman died as a result of a heroin overdose in the bathroom of a fast-food restaurant in the Richmond area. This death provided the catalyst for an extensive coronial inquest focused on heroin related deaths
We provided a written submission to the Coroner, including the following recommendations:
• Access to drug treatments must be expanded and improved;
• Drug consumption rooms should be introduced;
• Criminal Justice measures which acknowledge drug use as a health and social issue should be adopted; and
• It should be acknowledged that the drug using population should not be excluded from the right to life obligation under the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities 2006 (Vic).
Our submission is confidential and subject to an undertaking and as such, it cannot be circulated.
Submission to the Victorian Government’s Access to Justice Review.
Submission to the Victorian Government’s Review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.
Submission to the eight-year review of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.
Assistance to the Homeless Person’s Union of Victoria Inc. with its submission to the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
Submission to the Productivity Commission’s Public inquiry into Access to Justice Arrangements.
Contributed to the Federation of Community Legal Centres (Vic.) Inc.’s submission to Victoria Legal Aid’s consultation regarding ’Delivering high quality criminal trials’.
Submission to the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee regarding the Summary Offences and Sentencing Amendment Bill 2013.
Submission to the Victoria Police Community Consultation on Field Contact Policy and Data Collection and Cross Cultural Training.
Contributed to the report Occupy Policing, A Report into the Effects and Legality of the Eviction of Occupy Melbourne from City Square on 21 October 2011.
Submission to the Department of Human Services on behalf of Public Housing Tenants in relation to Human Rights concerns raised by the Anti-Social Behaviour Pilot.
Submission to the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee regarding the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.
Submission to the City of Yarra regarding update on Taking Action Together and Proposals for Further Community Safety Measures.
Partnered with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence and Project Respect in a submission to the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department regarding its Discussion Paper regarding Forced and Servile Marriage.
Partnered with Project Respect in a submission to the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department regarding its Discussion Paper regarding The Criminal Justice Response to Slavery and People Trafficking; Reparation; and Vulnerable Witness Protections.
Partnered with the Western Suburbs Legal Service and the Springvale Monash Legal Service to co-author the report ‘Boys, you wanna give me some action?’: Interventions into Policing of Racialised Communities in Melbourne.