Although the Goulburn Valley Community Legal Centre has been up and running for some time now, it was only officially opened at its new Shepparton premises on the 25th of November 2013.
The Hon. Dr. Sharman Stone kindly found time in her busy schedule to officiate. We were particularly pleased that Dr Stone could join us as she was an early supporter of the CLC4GV campaign that we ran in partnership with UnitingCare: Cutting Edge to demonstrate the need for a fully-funded Community Legal Centre in the region.
Local Indigenous man Sonny Cooper performed a Smoking Ceremony to usher in the centre and many of those who attended were moved by the occasion.
The centre first opened as a pilot service in late 2009 with a single solicitor, Joanne Ellis. As well as delivering legal services on a shoestring, Joanne documented unmet legal need in the region, delivered community legal education and campaigned for a permanently funded CLC.
The campaign was supported by a number of local individuals and organisations. The Hon. Jeanette Powell MP (Member for Shepparton), the Hon. Sharman Stone MP (Federal Member for Murray) and Tim McCurdy MP (Member for Murray Valley) all pledged support for the funding and we thank them for their ongoing support.
In mid-2012 the state government provided funding for a permanent CLC. Goulburn Valley CLC now has three solicitors an Administrator and a team of local solicitors who volunteer their time and expertise. The service provides day and night-time advice services and outreaches to Seymour and Cobram.
Photo courtesy of the Shepparton News