Aboriginal Legal Service stalwart calls it a day
THE ABORIGINAL Legal Service has admitted it will struggle to fill the shoes of its Clarence Valley court liaison officer Avery Brown.
Mr Brown, 64, retired from his role after a 28-year career with the ALS, split over two terms.
ALS Northern Region manager Julie Perkins said she had been fielding calls from all over the state once the news of Mr Brown's retirement got out.
"They're wondering what we're going to do without him, how we are going to replace his knowledge and experience," she said.
"A lot of administrative staff turned to Avery. If they had an issue they were unsure of, they could just put in a call to him."
"He had the knowledge so you could turn to Avery if you were after some community legal advice."
Ms Perkins described Mr Brown as an "old school" employee, who built his career on always doing the basics.
"Avery's strength was he followed through on everything," she said.
"If a client was incarcerated, Avery would contact the family to make sure they were aware of what was going to happen. He would never just let something go through."
Ms Perkins said the ALS was advertising for a person to replace Mr Brown.
"It will be hard to get someone to fill the role the way Avery has. He's set the bar high," she said.
Mr Brown left the ALS on Friday afternoon knowing he had done everything he could to advocate for his people in the legal system, while harbouring disappointment at the pace of change.
"When I walk out on Friday I will be happy knowing I've given it my best shot," he said.
But despite his personal satisfaction he said there was a deep disappointment that the Aboriginal community was still struggling with the issues it battled in 1982, when he took on the role of liaising between the legal system and the Aboriginal community.
"It's scary that after 28 years there's not a lot of change," he said. "We've tried lots of things, but things like the incarcaration rate for Aboriginal people and education levels are still terrible."
Mr Brown said he retired early to spend more time with a grand child.