The effect of possible changes to homophobic legislation will be the subject of a community forum held in Lismore on 28 August.

Hosted by the Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre, in conjunction with Northern Rivers branch of ACON, the evening will provide regional community members with the opportunity to hear from a panel of legal experts.

Representatives from the Inner City Legal Centre’s gay and lesbian legal service, Legal Aid and the Northern Rivers Community Legal as well as ACON and Family Relations Centre will discuss issues of parenting, discrimination and financial issues in relation to possible legislation changes.

ACON Northern Rivers Branch Manager Dr Tania Lienert says the evening will hopefully help to allay any confusion.

Lots of people aren’t aware of the impact the changes will have. Many people are concerned about how the changes will affect their Centrelink payments. Some groups are also proposing that the government phase in the amendments over time so people being affected by the changes can gradually adjust, Lienert said.

Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre manager, Angela Pollard, said that such an evening was a rare and much needed opportunity for gay and lesbian people from regional areas to get informed and ask questions.

The evening is being put on as a joint partnership and it came about really because both sides of the partnership kept on getting calls from people asking for the same information. These amendments could have serious impacts on people in both positive and negative ways so it is important that we make sure everyone is aware of what might happen.

The evening will be an important opportunity for locals to get information that they need and we will also have a solicitor from the Inner City Legal Centre on hand the following day for people to make individual appointments with if they have further questions.

info: The Gay and Lesbian legal rights forum will be held on 28 August from 5.30pm at the Winsome Hotel, 11 Bridge St, North Lismore. To RSVP, contact ACON on 6622 1555 or 1800 633 637. To make an individual booking with a solicitor, contact the Northern Rivers Community Legal Service on 6621 1000 or 1800 689 889.

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