Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Emergency relief and extra financial counselling for Laverton region

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Human Services

The Australian Government today announced extra emergency relief and financial counselling services will soon be available in Laverton and the Ngaanyatjarra Lands in Western Australia to help local residents who are experiencing financial hardship.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, today announced an extra $20,000 in emergency relief will be available to existing providers.

Up to $25,000 has also been allocated for extra financial counselling services in and around Laverton and Kalgoorlie.

‘Emergency relief services help with people’s immediate needs in times of crisis,’ Ms Macklin said.

‘This emergency relief will provide local people with a genuine need for assistance with essentials such as food and clothing, as well as pharmacy and transport vouchers, and help with accommodation and utility bills.

‘Financial counsellors help people resolve short and long-term financial difficulties. They provide individually tailored financial advice such as helping people to set budgets and savings goals, and participate in community education activities.’

The Australian Government also funds the Financial Counsellors Association of Western Australia to provide telephone financial counselling. People in financial difficulty and community workers seeking advice should call 1800 889 364 from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday and from 10am-2pm on Saturdays.

The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs is working with Centrelink and a range of other agencies to help people in Laverton and the Ngaanyatjarra Lands manage their finances and reduce the numbers seeking credit.

The Minister for Human Services, Chris Bowen, said people in need of help should contact a Centrelink office for advice and support.

‘Centrelink is able to connect customers to a range of services including social workers and Financial Information Service Officers as well as relevant third party providers such as Centrecare for financial counselling,’ Mr Bowen said.

‘Centrelink customers in Laverton and the Ngaanyatjarra Lands also now have the option of receiving income support payments weekly for most income support types.

‘Interested individuals should contact Centrelink to find out more. Weekly payments can be in place for interested individuals within two weeks.’

All government agencies on the ground in Laverton and Kalgoorlie, including Centrelink, the WA Department for Child Protection, the Aboriginal Legal Service Officer and the Laverton Leonora Cross Cultural Association, are available to help people concerned about their financial situation.

People who need access to telephones to cancel their existing bank cards and/or request replacement cards and PIN numbers can visit any of these agencies for assistance.

People living in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands can also approach any office of the Ngaanyatjarra Council Aboriginal Corporation or the Ngaanyatjarraku Shire Council for assistance.

The Ngaanyatjarra Council Aboriginal Corporation (which maintains a community office in each larger community in the Lands) can assist residents who need to cancel their bank card and apply for a new one; and provide temporary financial assistance while the person is waiting for a new bank card.

FaHCSIA and Centrelink will continue to host regular community meetings in the community, with the next community meeting to be held in early February.