Documentary: Living under threat, Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre and the 2022 floods


In early 2022, Lismore was hit with the worst flood in the region’s history.

The Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre were on the frontline of the climate disaster. Despite losing both of its offices in the flood, the community legal centre played a pivotal role in supporting the local community to recover in its aftermath of the devastating 2022 floods.

Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre hit the ground running, providing free, high-quality legal and social support to people displaced by the floods at evacuation centres, and later in Disaster Recovery Centres.

Living under threat (12 mins, prod. Community Legal Centres NSW) is a short documentary that tells the story of Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre, and the role they have played in preparing for, and responding to, the devastating floods.

00:00 Harper's story
01:12 The Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre
02:12 The night of the floods
03:15 Floods and legal issues
03:48 Damaged houses and insurance struggles
04:47 Renting, tenancy & the rising costs of living
05:53 Domestic violence
07:32 Displacement and housing precarity
09:00 Preparing for the next disaster
10:37 Climate action

Community legal centres and disaster response

Community legal centres across NSW form a vital part of the safety net that help protect marginalised people and communities from the social and economic impacts of crises, like extreme weather events and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alongside the physical and psychological impacts, crises like floods can create or exacerbate serious legal issues. This includes problems with insurance claims, housing and tenancies, income and social security, credit and debt, family violence and family law, destroyed documents and wills, and more.

The people that community legal centres support are often first and hardest hit by climate disasters. People experiencing financial hardship, First Nations people, people who are homeless, people with disabilities, and people living in rural, regional and remote communities, are time and time again left with inadequate protection from climate catastrophes such as bushfires, flooding, extreme heat or cold, hailstorms, and more.

Community legal centres are vital services that are flexible and responsive in times of crisis. We’re able to mobilise quickly, make and sustain connections within our communities, and support people in times of vulnerability and hardship.

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