Illawarra Legal Centre
Phone: 02 4276 1939
Fax: 02 4276 1978
Telephone interpreter TIS
13 14 50

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service. For more information, visit:

Tenants Service
Phone:02 4274 3475
Freecall: 1800 807 225
Fax: 02 42743491

The Illawarra Legal Centre is a member of the National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) and is based in Warrawong, a southern suburb of Wollongong, NSW.
News & Events


News and Events



NAIDOC Week - 7 - 14 July 2018

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NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.


You will find Illawarra Legal Centre staff joining in celebrations at:


Barnados Greene St NAIDOC Community Event Tuesday 9 July, 10am – 2pm, Greene St Warrawong


Unanderra Community NAIDOC Family Fun Day Event Tuesday 16 July, 10am – 2pm, Lindsay Maynes Park, Factory Rd Unanderra


Hope to see you there!


National Law Week 13 – 19 May 2019

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As part of Law Week 2019, Illawarra Legal Centre is hosting an information stall at Wollongong Library on Monday 13 May 2019 9.30am-4.00pm.

This event gives Illawarra residents the opportunity to connect with their local community legal centre, grab some free resources and improve their awareness of their legal rights and responsibilities.

Accessing legal support can often be confusing and difficult.  The legal centre helps with things like Centrelink issues, debts & fines, neighbourhood disputes and tenancy rights.

Legal centre staff can talk about the wide range of services Illawarra Legal Centre (ILC) provides, from over-the-phone legal advice to outreach services and legal education.  They try to help people to understand the law, the legal system, access to justice and referral pathways.


Anti-Poverty Week - October 2018

 Anti poverty 2018 logo

Illawarra Legal Centre and Warrawong Residents Forum are participating in Anti-Poverty Week, a National Campaign to highlight the hardship faced by more than a million Australians.

Across Australia women, men and children experience levels of poverty and deprivation that undermine their right to live with dignity. Poverty is not just about a lack of income. It results from the denial of many rights, which result from systemic and persistent inequality and discrimination.

Everyday people come to Illawarra Legal Centre because they are denied their rights or can’t get access to their entitlements.

  • Unemployed people are unfairly denied payments and their circumstances make it difficult to advocate for themselves.
  • Young people incur large debts because they fail to understand the contracts they are signing.
  • Main carers seek child support payments for their children.
  • Families struggle with financial obligations arising from housing, utilities, transport and general living costs.
  • Tenants report difficulties with landlords and with meeting housing costs.

Both organisations assist by providing services that meet pressing needs and also advocate on people's behalf.

Our local event is being held on Wednesday 17 October at 7-9 Greene Street, Warrawong, where Illawarra Legal Centre and Warrawong Residents Forum are located.

The event commences at 11.00am and ends at 1.00pm with free entertainment, a free BBQ lunch for all in attendance and a variety of service providers on hand to provide information.

In 2018 Anti-Poverty Week is being held from 14 to 20 October. 


NAIDOC Week - July 2018

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NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

NAIDOC Week 2018 runs from 8th to 15th July and recognises the rich history and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

This year's theme – Because of Her, We Can – honours the important role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have played and continue to play in our society. We recognise their achievements, their voices and their unwavering passion which has empowered past generations and paved the way for generations to come.

For the 6th year running, Illawarra Legal Centre will participate in the NAIDOC Family Fun Day held in front of our office, in Greene St Warrawong on 10th July 2018 between 10am & 1pm.

Hosted by Barnardos South Coast, this year is expected to be as popular as the previous years. The event will be attended by a variety of local services, such as Warrawong Fire Station, Warrawong Residents Forum, Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Cooperation, Care South, Lake Illawarra Police, and of course us!

The Greene St NAIDOC Family Fun Day will be a great day for the whole family, with a free BBQ, arts and crafts, lots of children's activities, information stalls (don't forget to stop by our stall and say hello!) and giveaways.

Illawarra Legal Centre will also be celebrating NAIDOC Week by having a stall at Northern Illawarra NAIDOC Celebrations. This year the celebrations will be at Bellambi Surf Lifesaving Club, Morgan Place Bellambi on Wednesday 18th July 2018.

This free community event is expected to be very popular, with cultural workshops, performance, activities for all ages, free food and giveaways. Come along and visit us between 10am & 12pm, look for the Illawarra Legal Centre sign.



National Law Week - "Law and Justice in the community" - May 2018

Illawarra Legal Centre (ILC) will mark Law Week this year by participating in several events around the Illawarra.

There will be two workshops for the public on Legal Issues for Older People: 

Wednesday 16 May 2018, 10.00am-12noon  Shellharbour Civic Centre Auditorium 

Thursday 17 May, 1.00-3.00pm  Wollongong Central Library

"We take it for granted that we can always make our own decisions about the things that affect our lives. Unfortunately, as we age, due to illness or injury, we may lose that ability" said Lucy Houweling, Solicitor at Illawarra Legal Centre. 

These two sessions will explore issues older people and their families experience when planning for the future. There will be a video screening, which will be followed by a discussion with local lawyers and seniors' rights experts about issues raised in the video and questions from the audience.

To book in call the library on 4221 6222 (Shellharbour) or 4227 7414 (Wollongong).


ILC's Illawarra & South Coast Tenants Service will also be out and about with Legal Aid NSW talking to boarding house residents about their rights.

Thursday 17 May, 10.00-11.00am  Darcy House, Port Kembla 

“In an increasingly competitive rental market, more people are turning to boarding houses as an affordable housing option,” says Warren Wheeler, Team Leader of the Tenants Service. “It’s important for people to know their rights and obligations under these arrangements as they can be quite different to a regular tenancy.”

Illawarra Legal Centre is a community legal centre based in Warrawong.

 ILC provides a free telephone advice service specialising in tenancy, credit and debt, Centrelink matters, victims’ support, discrimination, domestic violence, employment and advice for child support recipients.

 Free face to face advice is also available by appointment.

 For information phone 4276 1939 or go to





Illawarra Legal Centre in the News

Public consultation period open for proposed rental reforms, Illawarra Mercury - 22 July 2019


Big turnout to popular NAIDOC Family Fun Day in Warrawong, Illawarra Mercury - 9 July 2019


Services at Illawarra Legal Centre in jeopardy after effective funding cut by NSW Government, Illawarra Mercury - 27 May 2019


Illawarra Legal Centre Faces Funding Cut, ABC Illawarra - 27 May 2019


Legal Assistance, 9 News Illawarra - 27 May 2019


'Don't stand by, stand up': Illawarra community leaders' domestic violence plea, Illawarra Mercury - 16 May 2019


Labor pledges $1.5m for new one-stop Illawarra DV support service, Illawarra Mercury - 15 May 2019


Illawarra tenants advocates welcome renting reform which help domestic violence victims, Illawarra Mercury - 14 January 2019


 Anti-Poverty Week event takes place in Warrawong, Illawarra Mercury - 17 October 2018


Anti-Poverty Week event in Warrawong on Wednesday, Illawarra Mercury - 16 October 2018


Calls to remove 'no-grounds evictions' from NSW rental laws, Illawarra Mercury - 27 September 2018


Warrawong Centrelink: Community opposition fails to save office from closing, Illawarra Mercury - 27 July 2018


Centrelink Closure, WIN News - 26 July 2018


Hundreds celebrate NAIDOC Family Fun Day at Warrawong, Illawarra Mercury - 23 July 2018


Fun event fills the gaps to help Illawarra kids from refugee backgrounds, Illawarra Mercury - 29 June 2018


Labor's controversial plan to reform ice addicts by forcing offenders into clinics draws mixed response, ABC News - 22 June 2018


Services Shutdown, 9 News - 12 June 2018


Centrelink Closure, WIN News - 12 June 2018


Closure of Warrawong’s Centrelink office ‘a stupid decision’, Illawarra Mercury - 12 June 2018


‘WE WILL FIGHT THIS’: Anger at planned Warrawong Centrelink closure, ABC Illawarra - 12 June 2018


Free help with legal issues, Illawarra Mercury - 5 June 2018


Rental squeeze means Wollongong's boarding house beds could double, Illawarra Mercury - 14 May 2018






Past News and Events Highlights



ILC '30-year' volunteers win 2017 CLCNSW Justice Award October 2017

 Between them the six longest-serving volunteers at the Illawarra Legal Centre account for 180 years of continuous volunteer work.

They were there 30 years ago when the centre was just getting to its feet, and have remained dedicated volunteers since.

Now their work for those who can't afford a lawyer has been recognised with a NSW Justice Award.

Called the "Group of Six", Robert Davidson, Mick Davies, James Isabella, Kerry Kyriakoudes, Michael McGrath and Linda Wright received their awards at a ceremony in Sydney last week held by the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW.

2017 Justice Awards - ILC getting award

From L to R: Kerry Kyriakoudes, Truda Gray (Centre Coordinator), James Isabella and Michael McGrath at the Justice Awards Ceremony in Sydney.



Cultural Fishing Rights July 2016

Community Legal Education Worker Linda Tucker helped bring together local Aboriginal Groups with Fisheries NSW to discuss unfair fishing laws.




"Searching Questions" a qualitative assessment of online legal materials June 2016 

 Searching qs

Dr Linda Tucker, together with the ILC, has recently released Searching Questions - a study into the effectiveness of online legal services. 

The research was undertaken to examine whether there is potential to improve access to effective online self-help for individuals and communities living with disadvantage.

The research focuses on access to legal resources but should be just as applicable to the health sector. The overarching aim is to improve access to justice. This is not just about an individual’s access to legal remedies, it is also about living in a just and equitable society, promoting social inclusiveness by dealing with intersecting problems which particularly beset those who live with disadvantage, which influences the health and wellbeing of all individuals. 

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.



Illawarra Legal Centre's 30th Birthday Celebration March 2016

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The Illawarra Legal Centre held it’s 30th Birthday Celebration at the Wollongong Art Gallery on 18th March 2016, at which we celebrated the dedication of our wonderful volunteers over the last 30 years.

Illawarra Legal Centre opened its doors in 1985 as a direct result of community action and support; allowing us to provide free legal advice to the local community, and in particular, to those who had little hope of accessing affordable legal help.

Over the years our volunteer’s personal commitment to our service has been incredibly generous and we were happy to be able to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions and efforts of our 540+ volunteers that have given us their time.

This year we also celebrated some significant volunteer service milestones.

  • 5 of our volunteers notched up more than 30 years of service with ILC,
  • 8 volunteers who have served over 20 years,
  • 19 volunteers having devoted more than 10 years to the Illawarra Legal Centre (some of these are close to 20!)

We were very lucky to have more than 100 of these volunteers join us at our Celebration.

There was much reminiscing and reconnecting (along with good food, entertainment and all at a beautiful location). Some of the volunteers that attended appeared on our inaugural advice roster in 1985!

In fact one of these special volunteers was also on the original working party in 1983, which fought hard to have a free legal service available in the Illawarra and still volunteers today.

As the demand for our services gets greater and greater each year, it is only with the assistance of our volunteers that we have been able to rise to meet the challenge.

Thank you, to all our volunteers past and present.

We couldn’t have done it without you!

30th celeb vols 2 



 Illawarra Legal Centre is celebrating 30 years of providing free legal services across the Illawarra   November 2015

In 2015 Illawarra Legal Centre is celebrating 30 years of providing free legal services across the Illawarra, South Coast and Southern Highlands.  We are also celebrating 30 years of being based in Warrawong and together with the Warrawong Residents Group we are hosting 'Harmony on the Greene' on Saturday 7 November from 3.00-6.00pm.  All ILC friends are invited to come along to join in for free food, music and children's activities.  Hope to see you there.  



Anti-Poverty Week   October 2015

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The ILC combined with the Warrawong Residents Forum and the Wollongong Homeless Hub hosted an event in Anti-Poverty Week 2015 on Monday 12 October at our Greene Street premises to raise awareness about the level of poverty in the Illawarra and the impact that living in poverty has on individuals, particularly those trying to live on Centrelink pensions.  

We provided a little bit of relief from poverty with free food, music and a market place with lots of great giveaways donated by the community for the local community.

A great roll up of locals and the media focused attention on the difficulty of living below the poverty line. 


Our outreach Legal Advice Clinics have now been extended   October 2015

From Wednesday 21 October to include Bellambi Neighbourhood Centre each fortnight on Wednesdays from 12.30 - 2.00pm.  Drop in for free legal advice and assistance 


Reassessment of Victims Compensation Claims   September 2015

Reassessment of Victims Compensation Claims lodged before 7 May 2013 but processed under new Victims Compensation scheme after 7 May 2013

The NSW Government has announced that from 1 September 2015 victims of crime who lodged a claim for Victims Compensation under the old Victims Compensation scheme before 7 May 2013, but had their claim processed under the new scheme can now have their claim reassessed.

Letters will be sent to eligible people by Victims Services who have until 31 August 2016 to make an application.  If you do not get a letter by mid-September and you think you may be eligible contact Victims Services on 8688 6600 or 1800 993 031 to discuss your claim and if necessary update your contact details so a letter can be sent to you.

See for more information or phone Illawarra Legal Centre during general law phone advice times. 


Cultural Fishing Rights Gathering   June 2015

Aboriginal people in the Illawarra have been fined or imprisoned for contravening NSW Fisheries regulations – even with recognition of cultural fishing rights in the legislation, there are important ongoing issues in relation to how the current law applies. At the same time, Aboriginal communities throughout NSW are lobbying for a much clearer and stronger recognition of how customary law and management should inform the regulation of fishing by Aboriginal people. ILC is working with local Indigenous organisations, including the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council, on this issue, which was one of many matters concerning Traditional Ownership discussed at a three-day gathering of Aboriginal communities from 26-28 June at Killalea State Park. Hundreds of Aboriginal people from Illawarra down to the Victorian border gathered to share and celebrate culture and heritage. Please contact Linda Tucker at ILC on 42761939 if you would like more information. Watch this space for updates!


Law Week stall in the mall   May 2015

We held an information stall in the Wollongong mall on Friday 15 May as part of Law Week 2015 to raise awareness about who we are and what we do.  Look out for next year's stall!


Good News! Funding Restored   March 2015

The Federal Government announced on Thursday 26 March, that funding would be restored to community legal services. See Illawarra Mercury


ILC Funding Threat - will our state MP's stand up for free legal services?   March 2015

The Federal Government is cutting funding to CLC's from 1 July this year. While we congratulate NSW Attorney General Brad Hazard, along with other AG's for calling on the Federal Government to increase funding to the sector, we need the NSW Government to also step up to save our services. See media release and AG Letter


Fishing Rights Workshop   March 2015

We teamed up again with Indigenous Community Links for a very successful second workshop. An active round table discussion was held on issues facing local families who are continuing their fishing traditions. Both the chairperson and CEO of the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council and a number of elders attended the workshop.  It was agreed that the next step should be to set up a cultural awareness gathering which will involve both the local communities and Fisheries personnel.

The workshop also formed part of a recent report on cultural fishing rights on Radio National's PM program.  See link at:


Aboriginal Wills Workshop   February 2015

An Aboriginal Wills Workshop was held at Aunty Mary Davis Outreach Centre at Warilla on 10 February. The response from all who attended was very positive and the presenters from Ashurst Solicitors plan to return in a few months to draft wills.


Scam ALERT!   December 2014

The Federal Government's Stay Smart Online website is warning of a new scam based on fake speeding ticket emails designed to distribute ransomware onto computers. See here for information from the website's 'Alert Service' on the fake speeding ticket scam. 


ILC is teaming up with Indigenous Community Links   November 2014 

To present a series of workshops on cultural fishing rights in the Illawarra. Our first workshop was held on Friday 14 November and has generated huge interest in the community. We will schedule more workshops soon. 


Flagged budget changes to affect the most vulnerable in Illawarra   May 2014

What will the Federal Budget's 'austerity measures' mean for much needed financial counselling services in our community? See the ILC media release


Illawarra and South Coast Tenants Service tells NSW Parliament: public housing system 'broken'   March 2014

See the ILC media release.

Housing NSW repairs campaign - Get it Fixed! now online

The Get it Fixed! campaign has resulted in the launch of a website which contains information about the issue and ways to address the problem.  

 At the Get it Fixed! website you can:

  1. Sign up for updates
  2. Tell us your story – have you experienced issues getting repairs done?
  3. Become a supporter
  4. Find resources to assert your right to repairs
  5. Find resources to spread information about the issue, including how you can write to your local Member of NSW Parliament.

 The Get it Fixed! webpage is accessible at:  


Laneway Street Art - Giant leap in revitalisation of Warrawong   June 2013

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 Wollongong City Council has earmarked a $50,000 grant announced by the NSW Attorney General in May 2013 to revitalise areas of Warrawong, including the Greene Street laneway and areas around the Warrawong Community Centre and Illawarra Legal Centre.  


A combined artistic effort by three local artists, community members and the two Centres is a giant leap forward for esteem building and community pride.


“To be part of the project is a privilege. I like art and to see something permanent that I was a part of,” a community member said.


Maxyne Graham from the Warrawong Community Centre and Truda Gray from the Illawarra Legal Centre are pleased that improvements to Warrawong are on Council's agenda. 


“The murals will be interesting, relevant and vibrant generating a sense of pride and ownership.”

Expected completion of the Greene Street laneway street art is for July 2013.



Illawarra Region Financial Counselling Service opens 3 new Outreach Centres   May 2013

The Illawarra Region Financial Counselling Service, which offers a free, confidential service to people in financial difficulty, has opened three new outreach services in Warilla, Corrimal and Wollongong.

Maroun Germanos, a long time financial counsellor from Illawarra Legal Centre Inc said “the need for this service is growing all the time and the new offices are a great step forward in meeting this demand throughout the Illawarra”.

Bookings for the Illawarra Region Financial Counselling Service can be made by telephoning Illawarra Legal Centre on 4276 1939.


Animal Law comes to the Illawarra Legal Centre   October 2012

Animal rights image

The Illawarra Legal Centre recently hosted an animal law event to raise the profile of animal law. The event, which was a great success, featured a photo exhibition comparing historical treatment of people with the current treatment of animals, begging the question ‘how will history judge us?’. Convenor of the National Animal Law network, Angela Pollard, addressed an audience of staff and ILC board members and spoke about the importance of animal law to the CLC sector.

“Community Legal Centres have always been at the cutting edge of law and the struggle for justice, and animal law is the next frontier” commented Angela.

Angela emphasized that the issues of animal law were about the humane treatment and use of animals rather than banning the use of animals altogether. She demonstrated this with a graphic discussion of the way poultry chickens are produced, which prompted a handful of staff members to change their eating habits forever!


Young People, Fines Debt and Work & Development Orders   July 2011

The Illawarra Legal Centre has been a lead agency for the Work and Development Order (WDO) pilot project. Work and Development Orders give people an opportunity to contribute and participate in valuable programs while reducing or eliminating their fines debts.

The NSW Attorney General recently announced the Work and Development Order scheme would be permanent from 1 July 2011.

Mr Ryan Park MP, Member for Keira, speaking in NSW Parliament for the Fines Amendment (Work and Development Orders) Bill 2011 stated that:

"The Illawarra Legal Centre deals with some of the most disadvantaged people in the community ... Sharon Callaghan from the ILC told me countless stories of how work and development orders help in trying to get young people in particular back on the straight and narrow... In doing so, this prevents them from reaching the point where they fall into a disadvantage cycle."

Over the last two years a number of printed resources have been produced and distributed throughout the youth and community sectors via mainstream media, education sessions, mail and phone outspublic forums and community newsletters.


"Photo Voice Exhibition" for 2009 Youth Week   April 2009

photovoice exhibition photo

"A photo can open a conversation, inspire ideas and take us into interesting aspects of community life and provide an oppurtunity for young people to learn from each other" - previous ILC worker (1990-2013) Sharon.


"Reconciliation Week" and "Sorry Day"   May 2008

2008 was the year when then PM Kevin Rudd announced a simple yet powerful word to the original inhabitants of this land.

The word: Sorry.

Read about the Illawarra Legal Centres activities following this momentous occassion here.





Illawarra Legal Centre in the News Archives

Payday Lending: Labor's Shadow Minister for Finance visits Wollongong for roundtable discussion, Illawarra Mercury - 6 March 2018


Cost of Living Pressures Impacting Illawarra Residents, Stephen Jones MP Media Release - 6 March 2018


ILC 30 year volunteers win 2017 CLCNSW Justice Award, CLCNSW On The Record - 31 October 2017


 Add it up: 180 years of volunteer work, Illawarra Mercury - 30 October 2017


Illawarra Tenancy Services is applauding the reforms proposed by the State opposition, WIN News - 25 October 2017


 Days from being homeless, Illawarra Mercury - 19 October 2017


Tenants Service seeks a 'fair' outcome for renters, Illawarra Mercury - 4 September 2017

  Illawarra solicitor tells of Centrelink robo-debt ‘fear and distress’, Illawarra Mercury - 5 May 2017


Illawarra Legal Centre ‘cautiously optimistic’ about federal budget boost, Illawarra Mercury - 24 April 2017


Rent bidding app Rentberry would 'push disadvantaged people down even further', Illawarra Mercury - 13 April 2017


A state fix isn't enough to save community legal centres, The Sydney Morning Herald - 10 April 2017


Illawarra Legal Centre wins a reprieve from funding cut, Illawarra Mercury - 7 April 2017


Legal aid services join up to deal with high volume of Centrelink debt cases, The Guardian - 1 April 2017


Illawarra Legal Centre faces 'savage' cuts to government funding, Illawarra Mercury - 14 March 2017


  Illawarra Legal Centre advocate says government 'out of touch' with young, Illawarra Mercury - 2 March 2017


 Wollongong student says proposed changes to Centrelink benefits are harsh on young people, Illawarra Mercury - 13 February 2017


The great student swindle, The Sydney Morning Herald - December 2016


 Job losses in steel industry linked to rise in domestic violence, Illawarra Mercury - 30 September, 2016

and the Sydney Morning Herald - 29 September 2016


Tougher eligibility rules force thousands off the disability pension and into financial hardship, ABC RN Breakfast (audio) - 14 July 2016


 Labor vows funding lifeline for Illawarra Legal Centre, Illawarra Mercury - 18 June 2016

Labor vows to fund additional Federal Circuit Court judge for Wollongong families, Illawarra Mercury - 18 June 2016

Justice in 35,574 tiny steps, Illawarra Mercury - 27 May 2016

Youth advocate says budget doesn't deliver for young people. The Advertiser - 9 May 2016

Safe Schools: parents’ permission ‘unacceptable’ , Illawarra Mercury - 25 March 2016

'The language used by MPs to criticise the Safe Schools program is hurting people', Illawarra Mercury - 4 March 2016

Illawarra Anti-Poverty Week event heard many are living below the poverty line, Illawarra Mercury - 12 October 2015


Housing Bill Brings Fear of More Homelessness, Illawarra Mercury - 21 August 2015


Housing Bill Strips Tenants Rights, The Advertiser - 10 August 2015


'Solutions sought to resolve conflict over Indigenous fishing rights' , ABC News - 3 July 2015


'Meeting makes history', The Advertiser - 1 July 2015


'Killalea hosts key Indigenous discussion', The Kiama Independent / Lake Times - 29 June 2015


Cultural Fishing Rights, Local ABC Radio - 17 June 2015


'Help for those living in boarding houses', The Advertiser - 8 June 2015


 'Child support laws 'unfairly burden parents', Illawarra Mercury - 9 November 2014


'Illawarra public housing tenants hurting over tax', Illawarra Mercury - 31 October 2014


'Many living on the edge', Illawarra Mercury - 20 August 2014









Phone Advice

All initial requests for advice from the Illawarra Legal Centre should be made through the telephone advice service:


Phone Advice Times