Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

$4 million to help Kimberley families balance their budgets

People living in Western Australia’s Kimberley region will be given help to balance their family budgets and to learn more about how the banking and finance systems operate as part of a $4 million Rudd Government program.

Among those who will benefit are families identified under the child protection income management measure. This measure gives WA Department of Child Protection the power to recommend to Centrelink that income support and family payments are quarantined to ensure welfare is spent in the interests of children.

Money management services will also benefit those who voluntarily participate in income management.

Linking welfare payments to people taking responsibility for themselves and the health and welfare of their families is central to our reforms to the welfare system to foster individual responsibility and to give people the support they need to move up and out of welfare.

As at 12 February 2010, the number of WA people referred for income management under the child protection measure stood at 206. A further 322 people have signed up for voluntary income management.

To support the increasing numbers participating in income management, the Australian Government is funding additional services to improve the capacity of families to budget and plan for future financial security.

Five money management organisations in the Kimberley are being funded to continue providing free and confidential money management services which, where possible, are delivered by local Indigenous staff.

People on income management can ask to be referred for this help or they can be referred by the WA Department of Child Protection, Centrelink and other community support services. People can also self-refer to money management services.

Workshops on budgeting, savings goals, managing debt, credit, loans and accessing banking products are offered along with one-on-one sessions where targeted information is available.

In one example, a Kimberley family asked for advice when they were thinking about applying for a credit card and a personal loan to buy a car. After three sessions with money management staff, the family opted to save for a car rather than go into debt.

And in another case in the Kimberly, a money management adviser helped clients recover $50,000 in lost superannuation funds as part of the development of retirement strategies.

Money management services will also be funded in Geraldton to help local people and those in the surrounding communities of Meekatharra, Mullewa, Morawa, Dongara and Northampton.

The organisations in the Kimberley and Geraldton which will receive a total of $4.7 million to continue to provide money management services in WA are:

  • $470,000 for the Kununurra Waringarri Aboriginal Corporation [Kununurra]
  • $620,000 for the Winun Ngari Aboriginal Corporation [Derby]
  • $650,000 for the Kullarri Employment Services [Fitzroy Crossing]
  • $600,000 for the Broome CIRCLE [Broome]
  • $550,000 for the Jungarni Jutiya Alcohol Action Council [Halls Creek]
  • $720,000 for the Geraldton Resource Centre [Geraldton, Meekatharra, Mullewa, Morawa, Dongara and Northampton]
  • $1.05 million for the Matrix on Board is funded to provide Financial Management Resource Support Unit services to these organisations