In this issue:

1. South-Eastern Justice March 2020
2. Integrated service delivery in Narre Warren
3. Bush-Fire legal service
4. A busy season for law reform
5. Farewell to Kate Seear and Courtney

South Eastern Justice 2020

SMLS has started 2020 with a bang, supporting some of our Sporting Change young people at our partner Melbourne City Football Club’s leadership program. It has been so inspiring and exciting to see our young people participate, learn and have fun!

Integrated service delivery in Narre Warren


Financial Counselling

SMLS has been working towards an Integrated service delivery model in our new Narre Warren office. We have our lawyers, community development workers, youth workers, as well as Brian, our amazing financial counsellor from Good Shepherd.

SMLS and Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand have partnered to improve outcomes for clients experiencing financial hardship in our community. A financial counsellor can provide an assessment of your financial situation related to debt, debt enforcement and so much more. If you or someone you know needs help, call us on (03) 9038 8002.

Bush-Fire legal service

Disaster Legal Help Victoria provides free legal advice and assistance and referrals to Victorians affected by a disaster.

If you've been affected by the recent bushfires and need legal help, call them on 1800 113 432, 8am - 6pm weekdays. The legal team is there to help you with issues including insurance claims, lost and destroyed documents, tenancy issues, debt and more. Visit for more info.

Disaster Legal Help Victoria is a joint initiative of Victoria Legal Aid, the Federation of Community Legal Centres, the Law Institute of Victoria, the Victorian Bar and Justice Connect.

A busy season for law reform

We made a joint submission with Dr Kate Seear into the current barriers to patient access to medicinal cannabis in Australia inquiry, where we call for a human rights approach for our drug policy, improved access and recommendations to address associated stigma.

We also made a submission to the Inquiry into anti-vilification protections where we recommended that the legislation ensure that women, the LGBTI+ community and people with disabilities are afforded the same protections as those granted for race and religion.

We made a submission to the City of Casey regarding an application for 100 pokies at Castello's Clyde North Hotel. We highlighted the harms of pokies machines and the link between gambling and family violence.

SMLS also made a submission for the Joint Select Committee on Australia's Family Law System where we recommended increased resources for community legal services and family courts, earlier determinations of family violence during family law proceedings and much more.

Farewell to Kate Seear

Associate Professor Kate Seear has “retired” as the inaugural Academic Director at SMLS (2014-2019). The clinical program at SMLS has benefited so much from her expertise and insight. Kate has been integral to the enhancement of the community engagement program.

Kate has also assisted SMLS with our law reform, advocacy, research and evaluation. She also created the Australian Drug Lawyers Network, Australian lawyers who work on alcohol and other drug issues, and participates in strategic litigation with SMLS.

We have been incredibly lucky to have had access to her incredible research skills and legal mind! Her passion for social justice and sport will be sadly missed.

Good-Bye Courtney

We also wish to acknowledge Courtney Keefe, who recently left the community development role at SMLS. Courtney has assisted the implementation of our media and communications strategy as well as undertaking a variety of community legal education projects.

Good luck with your next steps, Courtney!

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