Relief for those in need of financial counselling

Cockburn’s financial counselling service co-ordinator Colleen Crowley. Picture: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au   d445733
Cockburn’s financial counselling service co-ordinator Colleen Crowley. Picture: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au d445733

COCKBURN Mayor Logan Howlett says he is relieved free financial counselling services for WA’s vulnerable will continue after a new model was announced by the State Government last week.

The new metro-wide service is free for people struggling to manage their money and pay debts.

In Cockburn more than 1500 residents sought financial counselling in the past six months.

In June the service looked like being scrapped before the State Government announced it would reallocate $2 million a year under a new model.

Last week funding for the service was awarded to a consortium led by Anglicare and UnitingCare West.

The City of Cockburn is also part of the partnership.

Community Services Minister Tony Simpson said the new model would allow small to large not-for-profit groups to work together to provide face-to-face and telephone services to individuals and families.

Mayor Logan Howlett said he was “relieved” to have the local service locked in until July 2018.

He said the new model would cost Cockburn one full-time job and the city would have to chip in $8000 to keep the service.

“However, because we are operating as part of the consortium there will be increased efficiency and innovation in the future,” he said.

Cockburn’s financial counselling service co-ordinator Colleen Crowley said keeping the service local meant it was “more accessible to those with mental health needs, disabilities and social obstacles”.

But not everyone was a winner, according to Financial Counsellors’ Association of WA executive officer Charlie Brown.

He said the association was disappointed for agencies that were unsuccessful during the tender process.

“While the announcement comes as a relief, it means 30 financial counsellors have lost their careers this year,” he said.

“Sadly, people experiencing financial hardship bear the brunt.”

The State Government said the Department of Local Government and Communities would continue to work with organisations not successful in the tender process “to provide support as needed.