Thousands of short term migrants exploited by bosses who withhold fair wages will benefit from a $1.6 million statewide project providing free legal help to recover the money they’re owed.
Four Sydney-based Community Legal Centres (CLCs) are joining together to deliver the project made possible through more than $40 million in funding for the state’s legal assistance sector. The funds have been allocated under a new competitive funding process for CLC’s which helps more than 55,000 people every year.
Attorney General Mark Speakman congratulated the Inner City Legal Centre, Redfern Legal Centre, Kingsford Legal Centre and Marrickville Legal Centre for joining forces to devise a project to provide this critical legal service.
“These four CLCs have a long history of helping some of the most vulnerable people in our community to solve legal problems before they snowball into potentially life-altering crises,” Mr Speakman said.
The participating CLCs will hire two community workers fluent in relevant languages who’ll work closely with the Fair Work Ombudsman and Legal Aid NSW and migrant groups.
“Every employee in Australia should be paid what they’re owed and this project will go a long way towards holding employers who exploit their workers to account.”
Minister for Multiculturalism John Sidoti said appalling recent examples of wage theft, particularly in retail and cleaning businesses, have shone a light on a serious injustice in our community.
“Temporary migrants make up 11 per cent of Australia’s workforce, but fewer than one in ten take action to recover their unpaid wages, Mr Sidoti said.
“The project will offer help to underpaid workers on the ground with visits to workplaces and the provision of free legal advice to almost a thousand people a year over three years. In NSW we want to ensure our migrant and multicultural communities aren’t exploited.”
The NSW Government’s new investment model provides funding certainty for 34 organisations that provide community legal services across metropolitan, regional and rural areas of NSW.