Funding cuts cast cloud over Bluesky Community Group

Funding cuts cast cloud over Bluesky Community Group

Bluesky Community Group lost about $15,000 through the new model.

Community Services Minister Tony Simpson last week announced the Government would allocate $1.7 million to the Metropolitan Financial Counselling Service, a partnership between Anglicare WA and UnitingCare West to fund Perth’s non-profit financial counsellors.

Mr Simpson said $300,000 in additional funding would be allocated to the Financial Counsellors’ Association of WA, with the total $2 million funding delivered annually until June 30, 2018.

The partnership would include 10 service delivery organisations, including Bluesky Community Group in Lockridge.

Funding changes came after a tender process ended in October, when non-profit financial service providers reapplied for funds the Government cut from September 30.

The Salvation Army, which delivered financial counselling in Balga and Morley, had more than $120,000 in funding cut and despite reapplying for it, lost under the new model.

Salvos spokesman Warren Palmer said workers were “saddened” by not receiving the funding, especially because the organisation was the longest- serving provider in WA.

“Our overriding concern … is that those in great need have access to this critical service,” Mr Palmer said.

Blue Sky Community Group chief executive Neville Willcock said negotiations for funding had been long and tough, taking 10 services to unite and put forward the best possible plan to cover the most people in need.

“All partners accepted equal funding, even though this was well below what each service was previously getting,” Mr Willcock said.

Premier Colin Barnett said there were too many organisations providing very limited services, so the Government consolidated the services into two contracts.

“The feedback I’m getting is that it’s a far more effective use of taxpayers’ money and provides better quality of service,” he said.