Western Australians on low incomes and in crisis due to the economic downturn will receive increased professional help in managing their finances.
Community Development and Family Minister Eric Ripper said today $1 million would be allocated over the next four years for new and expanded budget and debt counselling services.
Mr Ripper said the upgrading, signalled in the State Government's landmark $180 million Social Advantage package, sought to assist those most in need.
Five new budget and financial counselling services would be funded, with upgrades to seven existing services and small increases to all others. Currently, 17 financial counselling services were funded through non-Government agencies under the Department for Community Development's poverty program.
The Minister said the newly-funded services would be in Armadale, Midland, Lockridge, Mandurah and at a location yet to be finalised in the north of the State.
"This expansion is in line with the Government's determination to provide help where it is most needed, and comes on top of the considerable Government concessions already given to Western Australians," Mr Ripper said.
"During the last financial year, more than $170 million in concessions including electricity, gas, water, rates and transport, were provided by the Government.
"This State also remains the most generous in Australia in the provision of emergency financial assistance, with more than $5 million paid out in the last year to people in crisis."
Through the financial counselling services, people in need received budgeting advice, could have debts re-negotiated, or be provided with an advocate to negotiate with public sector or private organisations.
Mr Ripper said expansion would ease the pressure on existing services which were in high demand due to the tough economic times.