Faith Cheok had some important messages on the recent budget cuts to financial counsellors in her radio show on 11 July 2015. Financial counsellors do a lot of excellent work; helping members of the community learn to budget, manage their finances, and negotiate with credit providers.
From CCLSWA’s perspective, financial counsellors are important as they are often the first people to notice suspicious and predatory behaviour on the part of businesses – particularly payday lenders, car dealerships and credit repair businesses. Government regulators are not always made aware of these sorts of problems.
Nevertheless, the State Government made the decision to stop funding metropolitan financial counselling services after 1 October 2015 and regional services after another year. Despite the already extremely high demand for financial counselling services (most locations have a wait list of 2-6 weeks for an appointment), many financial counselling centres have stopped taking on new clients and others are planning to close down altogether.
Faith and her fellow staff here at CCLSWA implore the State Government to reconsider the cuts to funding, in light of the effects it will have on the financially vulnerable people of Western Australia.
For more information on financial counsellors and the recent budget cuts, visit the Financial Counsellors’ Association of Western Australia website.