Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Financial support services for people in Rockhampton

Joint Media Release with:

  • Jenny Macklin MP , Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Minister for Disability Reform
    Senator Kim Carr MP, Minister for Human Services
    Kirsten Livermore MP, Member for Capricornia

  • Senator Kim Carr MP, Minister for Human Services
    Julie Collins MP, Minister for Community Services
    Kirsten Livermore MP, Member for Capricornia

People in Rockhampton will get extra support to help manage their money, with the Australian Government providing $ 465,000 over three years to fund additional financial support services.

These services will help support the introduction of income management in Rockhampton from 1 July 2012.

Central Queensland Financial Counselling Association will deliver the additional money management and financial counselling services in Rockhampton to assist people on income management to stabilise their financial situation and improve their financial literacy skills.

The Minister for Families, Jenny Macklin, said that income management helps families ensure that welfare payments are spent in the best interests of children.

“It ensures that money is available for life essentials and provides a tool to stabilise people’s circumstances and ease immediate financial stress,” Ms Macklin said.

“These financial management services, including financial advice, mentoring, education and referral services will provide additional support to people who volunteer for income management, or who are referred by social workers.”

The Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins, said the free financial support services will also be available to young parents, jobless and other vulnerable people and families.

“Financial support services, including financial counsellors, help people resolve short and long-term financial difficulties. They provide individual tailored financial advice, including helping people to set goals, better manage their debts, and participate in community education activities,” Ms Collins said.

In Rockhampton from 1 July 2012, income management will apply to vulnerable families and individuals including:

  • people referred for income management by state or territory child protection authorities where children are being neglected or are at risk;
  • people assessed by Department of Human Services social workers as being vulnerable to factors including financial crisis which could include people who are at risk of homelessness due to rental arrears; and
  • people who volunteer for income management.

The Minister for Human Services, Senator Kim Carr, said more than 100 shops, businesses, utilities providers and other organisations in Rockhampton are getting ready for the start of income management on 1 July.

“In Rockhampton, we expect that the majority of people participating in income management will be volunteers who want some help with their budgets to make sure their basic expenses are covered.

“The Department of Human Services will work very closely with Rockhampton customers to make sure that they know where their money can be allocated, and how they can access it.”

Of the shops in Rockhampton, 79 can accept payment through the BasicsCard, which can be used through existing EFTPOS facilities.

Another 21 -including utilities and public housing providers, schools and other organisations-are set up to receive direct income managed payments.

The Member for Capricornia, Kirsten Livermore said across Queensland, 1,393 shops can accept payment through the BasicsCard, and nationally there are more than 6,400.

“The Department of Human Services will continue to sign up shops in the Rockhampton area as income management is introduced and local customers advise where they would like to shop.” Ms Livermore said.

“Rockhampton is one of five locations around Australia chosen to have income management rolled out.

“Rockhampton has been chosen, based on a number of factors, including unemployment, skills gaps, the number of people relying on welfare payments as their primary source of income and the length of time recipients have been receiving income support payments,” Ms Livermore said.

For those people who volunteer for income management and those people who are assessed by social workers as being vulnerable, 50 per cent of their welfare payments are set aside for basic necessities.

Under child protection income management, 70 per cent of parents’ welfare payments are set aside to be spent on the necessities of life.

Income managed funds cannot be spent on alcohol, tobacco, pornography and gambling products.