Thursday, 19 October 2023


Flood recovery

Flood recovery

Wendy LOVELL (Northern Victoria) (18:42): (537) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Consumer Affairs. Post the 2022 floods, Anglicare was funded for two financial counsellors to deliver services to the flood-affected community of Rochester. This funding was due to expire in November this year, but last Friday the Premier and the Attorney-General visited Rochester and announced the funding would be extended until June next year. The problem is that Anglicare, the organisation that has delivered financial counselling services for every major disaster in Victoria since the 2009 bushfires, has informed me that these services are required for a minimum of three years post the disaster.

When I met with the financial counsellors in Rochester in July, they informed me that despite the enormous workload they were carrying, they had achieved many positive results for Rochester residents. For example, they informed me that nine families received a combined total of $500,000 in additional insurance payments due to the work of the financial counsellors. It was also reported to me that, as of 20 July, the two financial counsellors had assisted 158 families, with 114 of these cases still ongoing, and that around 30 families were on a waiting list to be allocated a caseworker at that date. Unfortunately, due to the case load of the two counsellors, the wait time is approximately nine weeks for new clients to be allocated a caseworker, meaning it will be Christmas week before someone applying this week receives assistance. Rochester needs certainty that these services will continue to be provided for all residents who require assistance.

The action that I seek from the minister is for the minister to guarantee additional funding for the two financial counsellor positions in Rochester and that it be provided to Anglicare to enable the service to be delivered for a minimum of three years post the floods – that is, until November 2025.