Help available for struggling families this Christmas

Help is just a phone call away for Queensland families struggling with the financial pressures of Christmas and school holidays this year.

Communities Minister Coralee O’Rourke said December and January could be a difficult time for many Queenslanders, 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,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“But I want everyone to know that help is available, and I would encourage anyone who is struggling to reach out and access that help.”

Mrs O’Rourke said she was proud the Palaszczuk Government funded 84 organisations right across the state with emergency relief funding to ensure vulnerable Queenslanders had access to the help they needed when they needed it most.

“In 2017-18 the Palaszczuk Government is providing more than $1.69 million in emergency relief funding to these 84 organisations across Queensland,” she said.

“Organisations including Saint Vincent de Paul, Wesley Mission, Seventh Day Adventist Church, The Salvation Army, Lutheran Community Care, a number of community centres, Indigenous organisations, women’s centres and more.

“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.”

Mrs O’Rourke 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 payment to clients experiencing an immediate financial crisis.

“We work closely with each of these 84 organisations, and they all tell us that demand for their services is high in December and January,” she said.

“So to anyone who is struggling financially or otherwise this Christmas and school holiday season, please reach out to your local organisation who will be able to help you and your family.”

Mrs O’Rourke said financial counselling services were also available to anyone experiencing difficulties.

“We want to help people by focussing on early intervention, and we have a team of financial resilience workers and financial counsellors ready to provide financial literacy education, advocacy and case management to Queenslanders who want to access this,” she 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.”

Mrs O’Rourke 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 visit www.oneplace.org.au/search/emergency%20relief.

For a list of financial counselling services visit www.qld.gov.au/community/losing-your-job-income/financial-literacy-resilience-services