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Legal centre cash kicks in

Tuesday, 2nd July, 2013

By Kurtis J Eichler

The Far West Community Legal Centre resumed its full-time service yesterday courtesy of the federal government.

The centre was thrown a lifeline in May by federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, who answered its call for more funding by giving it an extra $215,000 over 18 months.

Principal solicitor Mariette Curcuruto and CEO Tracey Willow lobbied state and federal governments for more funding after it was forced to close its doors two days a week.

The pair also took pay cuts to safeguard the centre’s future.

Staff and lawyers were being forced to cook sausage sizzles and man garage sales in a bid to keep the centre - which receives $285,000 in federal funding annually - afloat.

The funding kicked in yesterday in conjunction with the start of the new financial year and now means they can return to a full five-days-a-week service.

Ms Curcuruto said it was back to “business as usual” for the firm.

“It certainly means we will be back out there to serve the community as well as we can,” she said.

The additional funding has also meant they can employ an additional solicitor.

Eliza Hull will start with the firm on July 15. Ms Curcuruto describes her as “an intelligent, articulate person”.

Ms Curcuruto said the funding would be enough to pay staff, place them back in their proper positions and increase community outreach to Wilcannia, Menindee and other corners of far west NSW.

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