Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Free financial counselling services for East Kimberley

People under financial pressure in the East Kimberley region will soon have better access to free financial counselling and advice.

The Minister for Families, Community Services, and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin today announced the Jungarni-Jutiya Alcohol Action Council Aboriginal Corporation, based in Halls Creek, will receive $153,000 until June 2011 for a new full-time equivalent financial counselling position.

The new financial counselling service will complement the money management services Jungarni-Jutiya currently provides with $550,000 from the Australian Government over two years.

‘This service provides practical support to help local people build their money management skills and make better and informed choices,’ Ms Macklin said.

‘It will contribute to increased financial literacy and skills, resulting in people being better able to manage their personal financial affairs.

‘This includes planning and setting savings goals, using financial services and technology such as internet and phone banking, and understanding consumer rights.

‘We want to equip people to take action early when faced with personal financial difficulties to reduce the likelihood of problems escalating.’

Commonwealth financial counsellors assist people with more complex financial issues, such as multiple debts to resolve any immediate financial problems.

The financial counselling services are free and tailored to suit individual needs.

The counselling service will be based in Halls Creek. The counsellor will regularly travel to remote communities including Warmun, Balgo and Yiyili.

The availability of professional financial counselling services can provide help in managing financial pressures in times of need, so it is particularly

important that they are made available in remote areas where few services exist.