City of Wanneroo’s financial advisors gone

City of Wanneroo’s financial advisors gone

FINANCIAL counsellors will no longer be employed by the City of Wanneroo but it says the impact on residents will be minimal.

Councillors endorsed the City’s new financial counselling model, which will see it lose the equivalent of three full-time positions, in May.

They also approved waiving $65,000 in fee hire for The Spiers Centre and UnitingCare West to operate from venues in Girrawheen, Two Rocks, Butler, Wanneroo and Merriwa.

After substantial funding cuts to financial counselling services in 2015, responsibility for the sector was transferred to the Department of Local Government and Communities, which committed $2 million per year until mid-2018 for 10 organisations to offer the services.

This initially included the City but it has withdrawn as a partner and counsellors will no longer be directly employed by the City from September 30.

Mayor Tracey Roberts said residents would still have access to the services through The Spiers Centre and UnitingCare West.

She said the City had been funding financial counselling services from its operational budget since the funding cuts.

“However this is not sustainable in the long term, so the City’s services are slowly transitioning to external providers, but current service levels will effectively be maintained,” she said.

The council also requested she write to Local Government Minister Tony Simpson to advocate for increased funding for residents.

Centre chief executive Helena Jakupovic said they hoped to receive more funding for a third financial counsellor following the City’s decision.

She said the City was still actively involved in advocacy for the counselling network.

“I think what we are both keen to do is to work collaboratively to get the best outcomes for residents,” she said.

She said the centre’s counsellors catered for people from about 90 suburbs.

“The challenge is that clients need to come to us. I would like to see more outreach centres so people do not have to travel so far,” she said.