Clients could be driven to bankruptcy through financial counselling cuts

Gosnells Community Legal Centre financial counsellors Manelka Fernando, Billy Hawes, Dianne Pyvis and Katherine Haag.
Gosnells Community Legal Centre financial counsellors Manelka Fernando, Billy Hawes, Dianne Pyvis and Katherine Haag.

GOSNELLS Community Legal Centre (GCLC) will not be able to offer financial counselling appointments in the near future, despite being fully booked, if State Government funding cuts are maintained, according to acting manager Linda Saverimutto.

“The centre employs three financial counsellors that are funded by the State Government,” Mrs Saverimutto said. “They attend to about 52 client contacts per week.”

She said clients were at risk of being driven into the hands of commercial lending operators such as pay day lenders, which charge exorbitant fees and rates

“Clients may be in a worse financial situation than what they were and may even be driven to bankruptcy,” she said.

“The financial counselling service assists with early release of superannuation and retrenchment.

“If we do not receive any further funding after September 30, we will not have the funds to offer any kind of financial counselling service.

“We are also not able to refer clients to any other service as most community centres are losing their funding.”

The three financial counsellors positions will be lost under the funding cuts.