MORE than 1000 people have signed a petition urging the Barnett government to overturn the looming closure of the Fremantle branch of Legal Aid.
The June deadline has been known for some time but the Community and Public Sector Union/Civil Service Association says the impact on locals who use the service is too great.
CPSU/CSA assistant secretary Rikki Hendon says there’s concern too many will fall through the cracks.
“Our members have reported that a lot of clients have walked in off the street with very little financial support, some with serious matters, some with intellectual and physical disabilities and in need of support other than what a duty lawyer provides in court on the day,” Ms Hendon says.
Fremantle state Labor MP Simone McGurk, who was expected to table the petition in parliament this week, says the closure is short-sighted.
“It will have a serious effect on people seeking legal representation when they have to go to court in Fremantle,” she told the Herald. “This is yet another example of the Barnett government cutting essential front-line services in Fremantle.”
Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt fears the closure will put more pressure on the city’s own legal services, but the city’s entreaties to Legal Aid’s head office had fallen on deaf ears.
Dr Pettitt says despite the Barnett government’s talk about decentralisation, it appeared to be doing the opposite.