State of the Sector Report launched in Canberra

Published on March 27, 2024

Community Legal Centres Australia’s State of the Sector 2022-23 survey report: A Sector in Crisis was launched by Commonwealth Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus KC MP on Monday 25 March 2024.

The report paints a vivid picture of how chronic underfunding has pushed community legal centres to breaking point.

Centres are struggling to meet overwhelming demand in the community for legal help and are being forced to turn hundreds of thousands of people away, reduce services and close outreaches.

Frontline workers are suffering high rates of vicarious trauma and burnout, and high staff turnover is fueling a national workforce crisis.

A sector in crisis draws upon data from a national survey of 117 community legal centres from all states and territories, consultations with over 130 community legal workers across the country, and case studies gathered directly from centres.

The report uncovers some especially grim statistics on the impact of the community legal sector funding crisis for people and communities across the country.

· Centres were forced to turn away 368,000 people seeking help in 2022-23, averaging a thousand people per day.

· Nine out of ten centres experienced an increase in demand for their services in 2022-23 as compared to the previous year. None reported a reduction in demand.

· Based on unmet need and current staffing levels, the community legal sector urgently needs to recruit 2,000 extra workers if it is to meet the community’s need for support.

Gerard Brody, Chairperson of Community Legal Centres Australia, said, “centres have been telling us they’re at breaking point for some time, but the findings of this report show the crisis is even worse than we had thought.”

To read a copy of the report:

To read the two-page overview: