Financial Hardship and Covid 19 - Factsheet
The ever-changing environment of the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the lives of people across Australia. If you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, support is available to help you.
This factsheet provides information about the legal protections that exist for someone experiencing financial hardship under the National Credit Law, as well as useful information and guidance on the resources available to help you respond to any financial concerns.
The Consumer Law Centre of the ACT
The CLC is a not-for-profit government-funded community legal centre established as a program of Care Inc in 2003. The CLC was previously known as the Consumer Credit Legal Service which began in 1995.
We provide free legal advice and representation in the areas of consumer credit (mortgages, credit cards and personal loans), debt recovery, banking, bankruptcy, insurance, simple contracts, and general fair trading and consumer protection.
We also run the ACT’s Defined Benefit Information Service which provides information and limited legal advice in relation to the ACT’s new Motor Accident Insurance Scheme.
The CLC is a nationally accredited community legal centre under Community Legal Centres Australia’s National Accreditation Scheme.
In addition to direct client work, the CLC works towards improving legal protection for consumers, and raising awareness and understanding of consumer’s rights in the ACT through community legal education, free resources and outreach. The CLC also makes regular submissions to government with the aim of improving access to justice for members of our community by reforming laws that we think are unjust and unfair.
We are a member of the Community Legal Centres Australia, the peak body for state community legal centres in Australia.
If you want to stay up to date, we actively post news updates, tips-and-tricks and other helpful resources to our Facebook and Twitter pages.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to find out more about what’s coming up at the CLC
Also see our getting involved page.
Our legal work
We offer free legal advice on consumer credit (mortgages, credit cards and personal loans), debt recovery, banking, bankruptcy, insurance, simple contracts, and general fair trading and consumer protection. We provide once-off advice, either over the phone or in person, to any resident of the ACT or for any matter with an ACT connection. We do not advise businesses.
Wednesday Evening Legal Clinic
Our Wednesday Evening Legal Clinic is our advice service provided for people who are unable to come to appointments during the day because of work or study. The Clinic is held every Wednesday from 5:30-7:30pm - by appointment only.
Case assistance and representation
The CLC provides legal casework to eligible clients in the areas of consumer credit and debt, telecommunications, the provision of utilities, and general trade practices, fair trading and consumer protection laws (subject to our casework guidelines).
In relation to casework, the CLC will provide the following services:
legal advice, advocacy and representation
information and referral
strategic litigation with a focus on testing, shaping and defining fair trading and consumer protection and consumer credit laws in the Territory within resource capacity
Casework assistance is subject to eligibility requirements, including means testing.
Financial Abuse legal assistance and education
The Consumer Law Centre specialises in assisting clients who have experienced financial abuse and economic hardship arising from family violence. We prioritise clients experiencing financial abuse and family violence in our casework and representation practice. We also raise awareness in the community through community legal education and advocacy aimed at raising awareness about the impacts of financial abuse.
Defined Benefit Information Service
People injured in a motor vehicle accident in the ACT from 1 February 2020 are entitled to receive benefits under the Motor Accident Injuries Scheme to help them recover - no matter who was at fault for the accident. Care Inc., through the Consumer Law Centre, provides a free service that can assist you with information about the defined benefits available to you, how to apply, how to have a decision reviewed and where to get more help if you need it.
This service is known as the Defined Benefit Information Service.
We can provide information by phone or in person to help you understand and help you navigate the new MAI Scheme. The DBIS will provide information to get you the help you need to get back on your feet. You can contact the Defined Benefits Information Service by phoning: 1300 209 642
More information about the DBIS can be found here
Our Other Work
We pride ourselves on undertaking systemic advocacy and law reform work in areas of consumer credit, debt recovery, banking, simple contracts, general fair trading and consumer protection. We aim to empower consumers by working towards reforming laws that are unjust and unfair.
Our advocacy work involves:
Engaging in public government inquiries;
Writing private submissions to government agencies;
Communicating with politicians and other decision-makers;
Active membership in peak bodies.
For more information about our policy and law reform work, please refer to the publications page.
Phone: (02) 6143 0044
Defined Benefit Information Service: 1300 209 642
Our opening hours are 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
If you have difficulty reaching us, please leave a message – we are a very small centre and rely on the great support of volunteers for administrative assistance!
How to find us
Address: Level 1, 2 Akuna Street, Canberra City
Via 221 building and the Nesuto Apartments
Climb the stairs between 221 Building and the Nesuto. Veer to your left across the outside plaza area (without going inside the sliding glass doors).
Head toward the Consumer Law Centre.
Via Nesuto Arcade, Akuna Street
Enter the arcade on Akuna Street
Veer to your left and take the ramp to Level 1. Exit at the sliding glass doors leading to the outside plaza area.
Turn left and head toward the Consumer Law Centre.
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