Funding provided for financial counselling in northern suburbs

The Spiers Centre.Picture: Emma Reeves        www.communitypix.com.au   d423673
The Spiers Centre.Picture: Emma Reeves        www.communitypix.com.au d423673

TWO northern suburbs organisations have been awarded funding for financial counselling services under the State Government⿿s new community partnership model.

The Department of Local Government and Communities announced last week that The Spiers Centre in Heathridge and City of Wanneroo were two of 10 organisations that would share in $1.7 million per year until June 30, 2018, with another $300,000 given annually to the Financial Counsellors’ Association of WA.

They form part of a consortium, led by Anglicare WA and UnitingCare West, to provide financial counselling in the metropolitan area.

Funding to the sector ceased on September 30, with the City of Joondalup and The Salvation Army’s outreach services in Heathridge and Merriwa closing, and providers had to reapply for support through a tender process.

Community Services Minister Tony Simpson said the model would enable organisations to work together under a common set of principles.

“This new service model will ensure flexibility and coverage of financial counselling across the Perth metropolitan area,” he said.

The Spiers Centre chief executive Helena Jakupovic said she was excited about the partnership and looked forward to information sharing between the organisations.

“We’ve been having regular meetings and it is in the spirit of collaboration and working together,” she said.

“Everyone is incredibly passionate about what they do and the work that they provide for the community so I think that is the common bond – that everyone is brought together and looks beyond their own organisation or beyond anyone’s own objective and they look at the greater good.”

She said the centre would assess how it could deliver its services more effectively.

“We have to have some conversations around how we can do that and that’s about making sure we’re not duplicating services but that we’re working together in a collaborative way to provide the most appointments that we can in the community so that we’re seeing as many clients as possible,” she said.

Mrs Jakupovic said it was unclear how or when the new system would be implemented.

“We’re really waiting to get more information and more clarity around the contracts and the funding,” she said.

Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts said the City was also unsure of the implications.

“The City is still awaiting further details to understand the impact of the government’s decision on financial counselling services,” she said.

“In the meantime our residents still have access to these important services provided by the City of Wanneroo.”