Financially vulnerable people should be supported with direction to financial counselling services, expanded existing concessions for utilities payments and straight-forward and consistent hardship application processes across government departments and agencies.
Support for financially vulnerable people
1.1 Increase concessions and grants available to support utilities costs
Concessions are extremely important and can make a huge difference in people’s lives when they are struggling financially or trying to get by on very little. It is important everyone who needs concessions can access them.
SAFCA asks the State Government to implement the recommendations made by SACOSS in A Farer Concessions System.
1.2 Simplify the concession application process and streamline the assessment process
Concession eligibility and assessment process vary between each program and provider. This can make them complex to navigate and can have unintended consequences for people who are financially vulnerable.
SAFCA asks that the state government enable utility retailers to administer concessions on behalf of the state government to ensure concessions are immediately applied to all eligible customers.
1.3 Streamline government hardship application processes
Hardship application processes should be simple and accessible to enable financially vulnerable people the best possible opportunity to repay debt.
SAFCA asks that the state government initiate a broad review of its hardship application processes to ensure consistency, proper targeting, and ease of access, with the aim of achieving a simple and streamlined hardship application and assessment process across all state government department.
“Each government department has its own hardship application process with varying eligibility criteria and application forms. The processes are not clearly stated or easily understood. This makes hardship applications a difficult process that can be time consuming and overly complicated. Consistency across departments would create a more efficient process that would have better outcomes for all involved.”