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The Salvation Army forced to close Financial Counselling

   Media Statement

For immediate release

 

The Salvation Army forced to close Financial Counselling

 

The Salvation Army has provided free financial counselling services for those most disadvantaged for over 25 years and is one of the longest providers of such services in Western Australia. On the 5th June 2015, The State Government advised all providers as outlined in the recent State Budget, that the Government funded service will cease from the 30th September 2015.

The Salvation Army considers this decision short sighted and very disappointing, having little option but to conclude the service at a time of great need. In the recently released Economic, Social and Impact Survey (ESIS), over 2.5m Australian’s are estimated to be living under the poverty line. On average, respondents had less than $18 a day to survive after accommodation expenses.

The disturbing results of the survey include 75% of respondents having to cut down on basic necessities, 59% had delayed or were unable to pay utility bills and 57% had gone without meals. Children are being severely impacted on many levels and families and individuals are being entrenched into a life of poverty with a high likelihood of transferring to the next generation.

The removal of free financial counselling for those who need the service the most is disheartening and the consequences are significant for our community. In 2014 over 1500 people accessed financial counsellors provided by The Salvation Army with an average waiting list of six weeks.  A paid service of this type is out of reach and now this decision further alienates and excludes this sector of our community from participating.

The Salvation Army’s fear is that by removing access to this service, we are not protecting the most vulnerable. Prolonging disadvantage can only cause long term damage to the fabric of our community. This service remains one of the very few interventional programs designed with strong advocacy and support, endeavours to change behaviours. Better financial management will assist in developing capacity to be self-reliant, empowering families and individuals to take control rather than remaining in constant crisis mode requiring emergency relief.

The Salvation Army remains steadfast in its belief in the critical nature of financial counselling and therefore will explore all options to maintain this vital service. Alone however, The Salvation Army does not have the capacity and would need to seek external partners. This decision will place further pressure on other crisis services and The Salvation Army strongly encourages the State Government to reconsider the decision.

 

Media Contact:

Warren Palmer, Public Relations Secretary 

Ph- 0419 909 964