24 June 2015
NSW Parliament today voted unanimously to support a motion by Greens MP David Shoebridge in support of the HIV/AIDs Legal Centre (HALC). This support is crucial in the closing days of HALC’s ’45 days, 45 lives’ funding raising campaign that closes on 29 June. You can donate here.
The motion read:
1. That this House commends the work of the HIV/AIDS Legal Centre (HALC), a not-for-profit, specialist community legal centre that provides free legal services and advice to people with HIV-related legal matters.
2. That this House notes that:
a) HIV stigma and discrimination still affects thousands of people in NSW today, with around 11,000 people diagnosed and estimated thousands more undiagnosed;
b) HIV disproportionately affects already vulnerable populations including gay men, migrants, sex workers, women and injecting drug users;
c) One third of people with HIV live below the poverty line, half have difficulty meeting basic expenses like food, rent and medication, and half of the have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, and/or live with at least one other major health problem;
d) The HIV/AIDS Legal Centre is the only legal service of its kind, and provides advice on migration law, family law, criminal law, tenancy, discrimination and employment law;
e) HALC has assisted almost 800 people this financial year;
f) The essential services provided by HALC are under significant pressure as a result of reduced government funding; and
g) HALC is engaged in its ‘45 days, 45 lives’ fundraising appeal which closes on 30 June 2015.
3. That this House calls upon:
a) All levels of government and all sides of politics to work together to ensure the HIV/AIDS Legal Centre has a secure financial future; and
b) Individuals and communities across NSW to support HALC’s ‘45 days, 45 lives’ campaign.
Greens MP and Spokesperson for Justice David Shoebridge said:
“There are some things that are too serious for playing politics, and this includes ensuring there are legal services for people living with HIV/AIDS.
“HALC is a service that helps around 800 people every year with legal issues relating to HIV/AIDS, and NSW Parliament today voted to acknowledge it.
“This service is a fundamental necessity when vulnerable groups are so over-represented in the group of 11,000 people diagnosed in NSW. It’s a basic issue of human decency.
“It’s a tragedy that this service has to run a public funding campaign for its basic existence, because it is so deserving of public funding.
“I hope everyone can get behind HALC in these last few days of their ’45 days, 45 lives’ campaign and make a personal contribution to their wonderful work,” Mr Shoebridge said.
Principal Solicitor of HALC, Indraveer Chatterjee said:
“Disability and poverty are inexorably linked to legal problems. Access to justice for our clients – among the most disadvantaged in the community – is a basic human right.
“Government only funds half our work. For the rest, we rely on private donations,” Mr Chatterjee said.
Media contact: David Shoebridge 9230 3030
Indraveer Chatterjee, Principal Solicitor of HALC 9206 2060