Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan has announced $1.2 million in funding to support free or low-cost legal services for Victoria's not-for-profit sector community organisations.
Speaking at the Communities in Control conference in Melbourne today Mr Ryan said the funding for the Public Interest Law Clearing House (PILCH) over four years would secure the future of its PILCH Connect service.
"PILCH Connect combines the pro-bono resources of the private legal profession with specialist in-house expertise to provide timely, tailored and free or low-cost legal information and advice to community organisations," Mr Ryan said.
"The funds will benefit small and rural NFP's, in particular those that would normally find it difficult to afford such valuable legal services.
"I commend the work of PILCH Connect and acknowledge the work of the Attorney-General Robert Clark in helping to secure this ongoing funding."
Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government was investing in a range of initiatives to better support of the work of the NFP sector in Victoria.
"There are around 120,000 NFPs in Victoria alone, making an enormous contribution to our community in a range of areas," Mr Ryan said.
"The Coalition Government allocated $4.56 million over four years in its first State Budget to build the capacity of NFPs and reduce regulatory burden.
"We have also launched the online NFP Compliance Support Centre which is a simple portal where community organisations can access all regulatory information, licenses, forms and related support materials.
"Victoria is also leading the way in rolling out a Common Funding Agreement by the end of this year, for all Victorian Government departments funding NFPs to deliver community projects and services," Mr Ryan said.
Mr Ryan also congratulated the organisers of the 2012 Communities in Control conference and acknowledged the event had helped to inspire and educate community sector workers, volunteers and community development practitioners from around Australia.