THERE is no denying the busy Christmas and school holiday period can often be tough for Queensland families struggling with financial pressures, which is why it’s important to remember that help is just a phone call away.
Acting Minister for Communities Shannon Fentiman said December and January could be a difficult time for many people, who might find themselves struggling to meet both family and financial pressures.
“We know that this time of year can be particularly stressful as Queenslanders come under extra pressure,” Ms Fentiman said.
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“But I want everyone to know that help is available, and I encourage anyone who is struggling to reach out and access that help.”
The State Government provides 84 organisations right across the state with emergency relief funding to ensure vulnerable Queenslanders have access to the help they need, when they need it most.
“In 2018-19, the Palaszczuk Government is providing more than $1.73 million in emergency relief funding to these 84 organisations across Queensland,” Ms Fentiman said.
“What this means is that people from the Gold Coast in the south, to Cooktown in the North and as far west as Mount Isa can access a helping hand in times of need.”
Ms Fentiman said emergency relief funding could be used by organisations in a number of ways, including to provide cash, food vouchers, food parcels and third party payments to clients experiencing immediate financial crisis.
“Each year we work closely with each of these 84 organisations, and we know that demand for their services is high in December and January,” she said.
“So to anyone who is struggling financially or otherwise this Christmas season, please reach out to your local organisation who will be able to help you and your family.”
Financial counselling services are also available to anyone experiencing difficulties, as are the Good Money Stores in Cairns and Southport.
“We have a team of financial resilience workers and financial counsellors to help people by focussing on early intervention, and they are ready to provide financial literacy education, advocacy and case management to Queenslanders who want to access this,” Ms Fentiman said.
“This helps people set themselves up better financially, gives them access to a range of low cost financial products and, where necessary, specialist support services.
“Qualified financial counsellors help people who have complex financial problems to resolve these issues, with 4560 people using financial counsellors and financial resilience workers through Good Money Stores between July and September 2018.
“The Good Money Stores can provide No Interest Loan Scheme loans for those in need, with more than $250,000 worth of NILS loans provided between July and September 2018.”
Ms Fentiman said Foodbank was the largest food relief organisation in Queensland, distributing dried, fresh and frozen food to a wide variety of agencies right across the state.
“These agencies include breakfast programs, welfare/homeless shelter kitchens, food barns and neighbourhood centres,” she said.
“I would like to thank the 700 companies from right around Australia who provide donations to Foodbank which enables them to help so many people.
“The Palaszczuk Government is also delighted to provide funding to Foodbank to help with their distribution costs.”
For a full list of organisations who provide emergency relief in Queensland, click here.
For a list of financial counselling services, click here.