Migrant employees exploited in the workplace

Migrant employees exploited in the workplace

One in two queries to our service relate to wage underpayment: and so often it’s migrant workers who pay the price.

This is in line with a report by Unions NSW which showed 97% of hospitality jobs advertised on foreign language job websites were under the minimum wage.

In an interview for the Inner West Courier, Principal Solicitor Annette van Gent said migrant workers and young people are particularly vulnerable, with the minimum wage and conditions often being ignored by employers.

Read the full story here: www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/inner-west

Our meetings in Canberra

Our meetings in Canberra

While we’re celebrating ongoing funding from the NSW Government, the Centre is also meeting representatives in Canberra.

A team from MLC went to Parliament House to express thanks for the recent funding reversal of funding cuts for the sector. The team also explained the need for better resourcing for its services for survivors of family and domestic violence.

MLC’s team was warmly received by two elected political representatives in our community: Linda Burney (Barton) and Craig Laundy (Reid). There was also a supportive meeting with a staff member from Anthony Albanese’s office (Grayndler).

There are future meetings with both federal and state representatives planned.

NSW Government announces funding for local family and domestic violence support worker

NSW Government announces funding for local family and domestic violence support worker

The NSW Government has announced ongoing funding to support survivors of family and domestic violence in Marrickville Legal Centre’s community.

The Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Pru Goward, has announced the Centre will again receive $100,000, allowing it to continue its Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) support service for another year.

Marrickville Legal Centre’s Principal Solicitor, Annette van Gent says the support is vital.

“We are grateful for the continuing support, as we know family and domestic violence is such a big problem in our community.

“As these cases are usually complex, lengthy and traumatic, the Centre needs to work with people sensitively and in a holistic fashion. That’s why a social worker specialising in family and domestic violence is critical, in addition to the service of our lawyers,” says Ms van Gent.

Marrickville Legal Centre serves a community of 1.5 million people in Sydney, including the inner west, south-west and southern suburbs of the city.

One in three calls to the Centre relate to FDV: due in part to the large service area and also because the community has particularly high rates of such violence.

Canterbury-Bankstown is one of the five areas in NSW with the largest proportion of domestic violence assaults (NSW Recorded Crime Statistics, July 2015-June 2016).

The Marrickville Legal Centre was instrumental in developing the “Yellow Card” program, through which women experiencing violence were proactively referred to support services by police. It has since developed into the It Stops Here – Safer Pathways program, which has been rolled out across NSW.

As the Centre also runs a state-wide Youth Legal Service for children and young people under the age of twenty-five, it caters to the specific needs of those young people who are survivors of FDV.

“Young people especially don’t realise they are experiencing family and domestic violence,” says Ms van Gent.

“They may come to us with a legal issue such as with credit or debit related issues, or perhaps tenancy issues, but then it transpires they are leaving family or domestic violence. That’s where our support worker comes in: she can help the person understand their situation better, and provide support with the many issues surrounding this violence, such as safety planning, housing, income support, and the need for counselling.”

The Marrickville Legal Centre can be contacted on 9559 2899 or at info@mlc.org.au

Media contact: Susi Hamilton, Fundraising and Communications Manager 0422 934 024 or shamilton@mlc.org.au


First generation Lebanese Australian strata lawyer and photographer

First generation Lebanese Australian strata lawyer and photographer

Justin Abi-Daher is the youngest son of immigrants who left Lebanon after the civil war in the early 1980s. As one of Marrickville Legal Centre’s state-wide strata solicitors, he has used his fluent Arabic to help clients.

When I was a tenant advocate at Western Sydney Legal Centre, I came across a client who was bullied by a real estate agent. The client suffered from schizophrenia and panic attacks. When I walked into conciliation, the agent went straight for this client, without remorse. Those tenants, if they lose the tenancy, they have nowhere to go: there’s a waiting list for social housing. They fall into that black hole. The way the real estate agent represented the client was completely different to how the tenant was. We won that case: she’s still in that property and it’s been nearly two years.

How did you become interested in the community legal sector?

My interest in social justice comes from growing up in western Sydney. I am the only one in my family born here and the only one to get a tertiary education. I wanted to help my own community.

Besides working in the community legal sector, what other roles have you taken on?

I worked as a digital media intern at News Corporation. I worked for GQ online: writing articles, doing all the online updates and galleries for six months. I also worked at the ABC as a legal intern. Fashion and media have always been an interest, that I like to keep running on the side. I think if I let that go, I would probably get burnt out.

What are you reading or watching at the moment?

It’s a bit nerdy, but I am re-watching all the Harry Potters: I’m up to series eight. I loved it growing up. I tend to read more magazines now: Kinfolk and Smith Journal. I’m more into that than reading books, mostly because I do so much reading and writing here at work. So in my spare time, I’m more into visuals and photography: something other than writing. I’m about to go on holiday to Slovenia and my camera and tripod will be with me the whole time: in the mountains and near the lake with the castle in the middle.

What are people surprised to learn about you?

People are surprised that I listen to a lot of heavy rock music, like scream-o stuff. I also listen to a lot of alternative music now. Some of the heavy stuff I’ve listened to is Alexisonfire and Underoath.

Is there anything quirky that you'd be happy to share? 

My favourite animal is a cow, I’ve always had an obsession with them. I take hundreds of photos of them, I have a cow pen that moves. I’m going to Byron Bay soon for the festival Splendour in the Grass and the whole road is just lined with cows: we’ll be stopping hundreds of times to take pictures. Sometime I try to be in the photo with them, but often they run away which is a bit sad. They’re quite peaceful. I don’t discriminate on colour, but the classic black and white ones are beautiful. I’m not veg, I have been, but not at the moment: sorry, cows! I always threaten to give up beef: it’s an existential crisis, let’s not get into it!

Strata solicitor, Justin Abi-Daher

Strata solicitor, Justin Abi-Daher

Act local: Help survivors of family and domestic violence in our community

Act local: Help survivors of family and domestic violence in our community

Our area has a lot to be proud of: we're home to one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse communities in the city, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and a vibrant LGBTIQA+ community.

Unfortunately, we also have something that's shameful and largely hidden: some of the highest rates of domestic and family violence in NSW.

In Marrickville Legal Centre’s catchment, Canterbury-Bankstown is one of the five areas in NSW with the largest proportion of domestic violence assaults*.

And it's reflected in our statistics: approximately one in three queries relate to violence in the family or in an intimate partnership.

This end of financial year, will you help support some of the most vulnerable in our community, by supporting Marrickville Legal Centre’s outreach to these survivors?

Your donation is tax deductible and every cent will be spent on services: we guarantee none will be spent on administration or fundraising.

So often in family and domestic violence, the social problems overlap with the legal ones: that’s why there’s a social worker specialising in this area that is based at our Centre.

All the recent attention, along with a new system which has been rolled out across NSW means we’re now hearing from more people in crisis.

While it’s great that more people are seeking help, we’re struggling to meet the demand.

In the past few years, the number of family and domestic violence survivors seeking help from Marrickville Legal Centre has increased and the cases have become more complex: and we’re trying to meet that with the same resources.

Please give what you are able to help us to maintain and expand our services for people leaving family and domestic violence.

Your donation is tax deductible and every cent of it will be spent on outreach for people leaving family and domestic violence. That's no spending on administration or fundraising.

Thanks in advance for your generous contribution.

- Annette van Gent, Principal Solicitor and Acting Executive Officer, Marrickville Legal Centre

*NSW Recorded Crime Statistics, July 2015-June 2016