Lockyer Valley set to lose financial lifeline
LOCKYER Valley families in financial hardship will have to travel to Ipswich or Toowoomba for assistance when the Salvation Army Moneycare service closes its doors on June 30.
The service will close due to funding from the state government being discontinued.
According to data from the Financial Counsellors' Association of Queensland, the state government allocates just over $500,000 a year into financial counselling while states like New South Wales and Victoria give more than $6 million each.
Lockyer Valley Moneycare started operation in May 2011 after floods ripped through the region and has assisted more than 200 families with financial counselling and advocacy.
Financial counsellor George Nathan said the service still had 70 active cases, five of which relate to home repossessions and inevitably they would still have some when the service was closed.
"We have seen residents present to us in tears with mountains of debt being harassed by debt collectors, facing legal action and even home repossession," he said.
"We take on the banks, the credit unions, Telcos, utility providers and we ensure that our clients rights are maintained and they are treated with dignity and respect and we work with clients to have their issues resolved."
"We are very sad to have to close the service," Mr Nathan said.
"We have been able to help families turn their life around and give them the best possible future.
"This is a very important service because financial literacy can be quite low in this area and people need an advocate to act on a range of issues whether it's blacklisting, superannuation, unjust lending and irresponsible lending."
A spokesperson for the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services said the service was introduced on a limited time basis as part of the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements after the Queensland floods.
"Local residents are able to continue accessing financial counselling. Uniting Care Community run a Financial First Aid hotline which residents can contact to seek over the phone assistance. The number is 1800 007 007," they said.