Changes to coun­selling

BUT LOSERS IN NEW MODEL

Cockburn Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Bryce Luff

FI­NAN­CIAL coun­selling ser­vices in met­ro­pol­i­tan Perth will op­er­ate un­der a new part­ner­ship model an­nounced last week.

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-for­profit 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 op- er­at­ing 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 win-

ner, 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.

Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d445733

Cockburn’s fi­nan­cial coun­selling ser­vice co-or­di­na­tor Colleen Crowley.

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