Headspace Dubbo, Legal Aid NSW partner to provide clinics for young people

Sound advice: Legal Aid NSW lawyer Jessica Allan and headspace Dubbo youth engagement officer Nic Steepe. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
Sound advice: Legal Aid NSW lawyer Jessica Allan and headspace Dubbo youth engagement officer Nic Steepe. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

A young woman at Dubbo starting out in the job market in recent months did not know the ins and outs of her unpaid trial.

It was for a casual position and it went for two weeks.

In her situation it was not legal, but she would not have found out - or been able to recover the wages owed to her - had it not been for a legal service’s advice.

Legal Aid NSW reported of the matter it helped with recently in the city as it prepared to start legal advice clinics in partnership with youth service headspace Dubbo.

Teenagers and people in their early twenties might not realise all the ways the law intersected with their lives, Dubbo-based Legal Aid NSW lawyer Jessica Allan said.

“So many everyday experiences - signing up to a mobile phone contract, moving out of home for the first time and dealing with leases and landlords, and even landing that first weekend job - all involve questions about legal rights and responsibilities,” Ms Allan said.

The young woman who had worked in the unpaid trial had not realised it was a problem, she said.

She had come to Legal Aid NSW for another matter and it was only after talking to the service that the issue of the unpaid trial came up.

“We were able to look at whether it was legal - in that situation it wasn’t,” Ms Allan said.

“We were able to recover those wages for her.”

The lawyer said issues like the young woman encountered were “concerning”.

“So our aim is to educate young people so they know their employment rights, and can either advocate for themselves or come to Legal Aid for assistance if they feel they need it,” Ms Allan said.

The clinics will be held fortnightly on Wednesdays from 4pm to 6pm at headspace Dubbo, starting May 24.

Headspace program manager Rachel Thomas said they believed it was crucial young people were able to recognise they had free access to lawyers and legal advice should they need it.

“Our partnership with Legal Aid NSW is an integral new addition to the number of support programs we provide to the youth of Dubbo,” she said.

Headspace Dubbo youth engagement officer Nic Steepe believes the clinics will ensure the youth recognise headspace as a one stop-shop for their needs.

“We really are trying to cover all areas in regards to what we understand the youth need and will benefit from,” he said.

“It’s great to have Legal Aid recognise that we are working to better the lives of young people and to want to be involved in that as well.”

For more information call the team on 5852 1900 or drop into the centre at 23 Church Street.