Plea on fi­nance ser­vices cut

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - News - Su­sanne Reilly

BEL­MONT FOL­LOW­ING the State Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to cut fi­nan­cial coun­selling fund­ing, Jacaranda Com­mu­nity Cen­tre in Bel­mont be­gan cam­paign­ing to have funds re­in­stated.

The State Gov­ern­ment plans to stop fund­ing the ser­vice in metropoli­tan ar­eas by Septem­ber 30 and save at least $6 mil­lion over the next four years.

Jacaranda pro­vides fi­nan­cial coun­selling to about 30 peo­ple a day.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Lyn­d­sey Fitzger­ald said the de­ci­sion to cut fund­ing means it wouldn’t be able to ser­vice as many clients who are of­ten the most vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.

Jacaranda would also lose staff who are fully qual­i­fied and trained to as­sist clients in fi­nan­cial stress.

East Metropoli­tan MLC Sa­man­tha Rowe said she had ap­pealed to the City of Bel­mont to con­sider mak­ing an ur­gent fi­nan­cial com­mit­ment to Jacaranda.

“Four staff mem­bers who are em­ployed through state fund­ing are fac­ing the very real prospect of los­ing their jobs,” she said.

“These are highly skilled peo- ple with lo­cal area ex­pe­ri­ence, knowl­edge of cur­rent pro­grams and poli­cies, and who have spent many hours build­ing up rap­port, trust and un­der­stand­ing with lo­cal peo­ple.”

City of Bel­mont chief ex­ec­u­tive Stu­art Cole said the City was con­cerned about fund­ing cuts to fi­nan­cial coun­selling ser­vices and was in dis­cus­sion with the State Gov­ern­ment and Jacaranda about the is­sue.

Bel­mont MLA Glenys God­frey said it was im­por­tant to note that the changes to fi­nan­cial coun­selling fund­ing only ap­ply to the ser­vices pro­vided by the Depart­ment of Child Pro­tec­tion.

“The Depart­ment of Child Pro­tec­tion was fund­ing 47 agen­cies to pro­vide dif­fer­ent lev­els of fi­nan­cial coun­selling, but only 1 per cent of peo­ple us­ing these ser­vices are fam­i­lies re­ferred by this agency,” she said.

Peo­ple who needed fi­nan­cial coun­selling ser­vices could still get sup­port.

“There are 18 Com­mon­wealth funded fi­nan­cial coun­selling ser­vices across Perth, in­clud­ing Life­line, Cen­tre­care, St Vin­cent de Paul and Mid­land In­for­ma­tion Debt and Le­gal Ad­vo­cacy Cen­tre,” she said.

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