Work continues with Ceduna income management

BUNDA TEAM: Centacare manager organisation development Stephen Penglase with the Balancing Bunda team, financial counsellor Robyne Puckridge and money management worker Lisa Chandler.
BUNDA TEAM: Centacare manager organisation development Stephen Penglase with the Balancing Bunda team, financial counsellor Robyne Puckridge and money management worker Lisa Chandler.

INCOME management in Ceduna has been in place for about six months with work ongoing to remove any hurdles and increase community awareness.

Income management can apply to anyone who volunteers for it, is referred to it by a Centrelink social worker as being vulnerable to financial crisis, a young person receiving welfare or people referred by state agencies.

Ceduna mayor Allan Suter said there was a roadblock for volunteer people as there wasn't a process for referrals, but this had since been fixed.

"It's been going well in limited capacity, obstacles have been removed, a number of volunteers are going on income management and a number of youths are also going on," he said.

"The state government has been very supportive, as have been the commonwealth government and we're now in a position where the two government bodies are working together."

Under income management a person can have 50 per cent of their regular income support and family assistance payments managed, while under child protection income management it's 70 per cent.

Centacare Catholic Family Services has assisted by providing the Balancing Bunda service to people on income management.

Program manager financial counselling Samantha Forsyth said the role of the Balancing Bunda team was to support people in all areas of their budget, from negotiating with creditors to meal planning.

"We have qualified financial counsellor Robyne Puckridge and money management worker Lisa Chandler, who are available to assist people who wish to access our service," she said.

"A priority service is given to clients who are currently on income management, however we are happy to see any person who wishes to seek our assistance."

Centacare has also provided an outreach service to people from Koonibba, Yalata and Oak Valley to chat with them about the service.

Mrs Puckridge said staff however don't place clients on income management, they just support people already on income management to access all available opportunities.

"This includes explaining how to access the Matched Savings Program of $500 for compulsory income management and the Voluntary Income Management Incentive Payment of $250," she said.

"We are also aware that some people believe that you must use a basics card as part of being on income management, which is another myth; the basics card is part of a range of options available under the program."

As for the future of income management, Mr Suter said there could be a future past July this year.

"It's a shame it took so long but it's encouraging that things are coming together, and we're hopeful we will extend the trial past July in light of the successes it has generated," he said.

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