The City of Wanneroo, on Perth’s northern boundary, is one of the fastest growing local governments in Western Australia. Between 2001 and 2011, its population almost doubled from approximately 80,400 to 160,300, and is estimated to grow by more than 7,800 residents each year for the next two decades. The City is expected to become the most populated local government in the state within the next 10 years.
The City is one of only six local governments in Western Australia that provides financial counselling services. The City has been operating its valuable service for over 25 years, providing residents with access to seven staff who, between them, have over 50 years of financial counselling experience. One of the City's senior financial counsellors is the only trained counsellor who specifically assists small business owners in Western Australia facing financial difficulties.
Residents can access the City’s financial counselling services at its head office or through two community outreach centres. Counsellors also provide outreach services by working with social workers and visiting hospitals, refuges and home visits on request. In addition to face to face counselling, the City offers community education workshops at various outreach centres throughout the City of Wanneroo as a preventative strategy.
Despite being one of only a few local governments to deliver financial counselling services, the City of Wanneroo has found the setting provides a number of advantages:
- a range of accommodation (such as community centres) is available to use for community education
- access to a good support network of services such as IT, HR, Financial management etc
- the service can be offered to employees and connected to other services such as the Home and Community Care Program
- the City’s existing networks (such as links to councillors, MPs and other government and non government agencies) can be directly accessed by the financial counselling service.
City of Wanneroo financial counsellors are aware of the important role that FOS plays in the sector, and they appreciate the active role FOS plays in the Financial Counselling Association WA’s annual conference, providing professional development and networking opportunities with Ombudsmen and case managers. This year FOS will deliver an afternoon of interactive workshops that illustrate our process and approach using real world case studies.