Sunday 22 Apr 2018
22 April 2018
For immediate release
Financial and Consumer Rights Council (FCRC) today welcomed the State Government's announcement that it was increasing the cap on its Utility Relief Grants
Scheme by $150.
"The Scheme provides assistance to Victorian families struggling to pay a gas, electricity or water bill, by providing a one off grant. Where some sudden financial stress, such as a car accident or health problem leaves Victorians unable to pay a utilities bill, a grant under the scheme can make all the difference", said Dr Sandy Ross, FCRC Executive Officer.
The scheme has been capped at $500, an amount that has not increased since 2006. This is despite the significant increases in energy and water bills over
the last decade. The Government's announcement lifts the cap to $650.
"FCRC as the peak body for financial counsellors in Victoria has been lobbying the government to reform the Scheme, and we welcome this announcement as something that provides valuable support to Victorians doing it tough," he said. "Financial counsellors assist people in hardship and understand how important this type of assistance can be, and how important it is that the amount available is meaningful in the face of higher bills."
"While this is a significant initiative from the State Government, there are still some barriers to people in need being able to access the grant scheme.
FCRC is still advocating for reform to address the accessibility of the Scheme, and there is a review underway on the scheme operation that we are
hoping will address this issue."
FCRC is the peak body for Financial Counsellors in Victoria.
Financial counsellors provide information, support and advocacy to people in financial difficulty.
Financial and Consumer Rights Council
0417 557 420 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For comment on client cases involving URGS:
Julie Barrow, Financial Counsellor
Board Chair, Financial and Consumer Rights Council
0432 234 988