MORE FINANCIAL COUNSELOR FOR MELBOURNE’S WEST

The Andrews Labor Government is boosting support for Western Melbourne residents experiencing financial hardship by delivering more specialist financial counsellors for the area.

Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz was in Werribee today to announce that the government is providing six full-time expert staff to help those experiencing financial difficulty.

More than $715,000 has been committed to Western Melbourne for five general financial counsellors and one specialist family violence financial counsellor, with the service to be delivered by Anglicare Victoria.

The Financial Counselling Program (FCP) supports people in financial difficulty by providing information, referral and financial counselling casework.

Additional funding in September 2016 saw the introduction of the family violence financial counselling service, specialising in assisting those experiencing economic abuse.

This form of family violence often sees perpetrators take control of their victims’ savings and spending, rendering them financially dependent – a contributing factor to becoming trapped in violent relationships.

The funding commitment to Western Melbourne means Anglicare has more resources to meet the growing demand for financial counselling services.

The government has committed a total of $9.9 million for the FCP in 2017–18, which includes $1.5 million to continue the family violence financial counselling service.

The FCP is a free, independent and confidential phone or face-to-face service delivered by community agencies across Victoria, with 64 full-time equivalent financial counsellors and 10 full-time equivalent family violence financial counsellors.

Victorians experiencing financial difficulty can contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or visit moneyhelp.org.au for information and advice.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz

“We’re the first State Government in Australia to fund financial counsellors specifically for family violence victims – an initiative that is already improving the lives of those who need it most.”

“The Andrews Labor Government’s family violence financial counselling program is helping victims leave abusive relationships and rebuild their lives.”

Quote attributable to Member for Western Metropolitan Cesar Melhem

“Through community agencies such as Anglicare in Werribee, financial counsellors are helping those who are struggling get back on their feet.