commUnity Plus Annual General Meeting 2018

12 December 2018

The commUnity Plus Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on 29 November 2018 and was well attended. 

Speakers from commUnity Plus' various programs spoke about their work and the impact and benefit it has for the community and their stakeholders. 

BMCLC would like to make particular mention of the presentation conducted by Lachlan Tom on behalf of the Legal program. Lachlan spoke with enthusiasm and eloquence regarding the work of the team and cited two case studies as illustrations - they are produced below. 

Case Study One: "James" (Not his real name).

James is a young man with a $30,000 debt. He has an intellectual disability, autisim, and ADHD.  His partner wanted to buy a car and James attended for emotional support. James' partner was refused the loan so she suggested that he apply instead. The loan broker reassured James that he would be able to transfer the loan into his partner’s name after 3 months. As a consequence of this representation, James took on the loan.

Subsequently, James' relationship with his partner broke down and she left with the car. James was never able to transfer the loan into his former partner's name and he started receiving letters from the bank demanding the sum of $30,000.00.

James felt confused and extremely overwhelmed by the situation before attending BMCLC for help.

On behalf of James, BMCLC made representations to the bank explaining the unfair and improper circumstances in which the debt had been incurred and pointed out the various potential breaches of the Australian Consumer law.  

As a consequence of our advocacy, the bank waived the entire debt of $30,000.00!

Without our assistance, James would very likely have been sued for the debt which would have exacerbated his mental health and wellbeing. 

 Case Study Two: "Mahmoud" (Not his real name).

Mahmoud is an elderly man charged with driving in breach of his alcohol interlock licence condition. Mahmoud is a veteran of the Iraq-Iran war and was captured by enemy forces and held and tortured over a period of several years. After the war ended he was released and came to Australia as a refugee.

Mahmoud suffers from PTSD and severe back pain as a result of his torture and incarceration. He lost his wife shortly after coming to Australia. In 2007 Mahmoud was caught drink driving and was ordered to use an alcohol interlock device for 4 years. He did not understand he needed to have the device installed in his car and demonstrate compliance, so instead Mahmoud did not drive for 4 years. Once that time was up he began driving again -  unaware that he was required to have the condition formally removed until he was intercepted by police. 

Mahmoud's charges were serious: he was facing a substantial fine, suspension of licence, and possible imprisonment for up to 4 months.

BMCLC provided court representation. At court Mahmoud was very distressed. The experience reminded him of the Courts in Iraq and he feared his punishment would include a physical beating. Mahmoud could not bear to remain in the Court complex and was so overcome that he had to be physically assisted to exit the court building. The matter was finalised in Mahmoud's absence and he received a modest fine. Mahmoud was very happy and relieved and extremely thankful for the assistance.

 

Lachlan AGMLachie at AGM

Lachlan Tom.