Chief Minister Gallager has announced the things she’s going to do following her “Community Roundtable”:
The Chief Minister said that in response to the issues raised by participants at the Roundtable, the Government has decided to:
— develop flexible payment options for fees and charges for those Canberrans struggling to meet their everyday costs to help manage their household bills by smoothing out the peaks. This includes extending the period of time in which fines have to be paid by up to 6 months to ensure unexpected costs don’t prevent people from paying for essentials;
— include access to socially responsible banking products such as low-interest loans as part of the ACT Government Banking contract;
— develop arrangements to extend the benefits of Government purchasing power to assist non-government organisations;
— develop options to enhance current food bank arrangements and access in the ACT;
— increase funding for financial counselling services by $60,000 over two years;
— establish a community support website that provides information on the wide range of supports and concessions currently available; and
— work with our community sector partners to streamline service purchasing arrangements, reduce overheads and increase flexibility in the provision of financial and material aid.
Does more time to pay and easier finance help? Or just dig a bigger hole?
UPDATE: The ACT Targeted Assistance Strategy which deals with this at greater length is now online.