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South East Community Links Leads Effort to Alleviate Bill Pain

South East Community Links 2 mins read
Last year's Bring Your Bills at Dandenong

South East Community Links in Melbourne's south eastern suburbs is leading an innovative approach to addressing the impacts of the increasing cost of living.

The community organisation is running a series of community events to help locals experiencing financial hardship. Following a successful trial last year, the ‘Bring Your Bills’ events are returning for 2024.

Event details

Time: 10am-2pm
Date: Tuesday 30 April
Location: Springvale Community Hub, 5 Hillcrest Grove, Springvale

During these events, community members have the opportunity to engage directly with financial counsellors from South East Community Links, as well as experts from various sectors including water, power, and services.

Chief Executive Officer of South East Community Links, Peter McNamara, said based on last year’s events 150 people are expected to attend over the day.

“Our community lives in the most disadvantaged local government area in Melbourne, many people are struggling to meet their rent and bills, let alone secure employment and provide for their families,” said Mr McNamara.

“A recent survey shows that 63% of our clients are extremely concerned about their ability to afford basic necessities like rent and food over the next 12 months.”

“Almost 65% are very worried about paying their utility bills due to increasing costs and 43% of people with children said their kids have missed out on after school activities.”

“At Bring Your Bills, locals can get support with bills, renters rights, financial and consumer rights, Ombudsman services, Centrelink and a range of support services,” said Mr McNamara.

These events attract a diverse audience, reflecting the multicultural communities of Melbourne's south east. Bilingual staff will be available to facilitate conversations and ensure inclusivity.

Last year’s Bring Your Bills events in Dandenong, Noble Park, Cranbourne West, and Pakenham attracted more than 500 people seeking help and advice. The events delivered tangible outcomes, with more than $160,000 in debts resolved and 52 concessions and grants supporting community members. As a result, 86% of the attendees reported being on track with their utility bills, and 100% felt more confident making a complaint.

This initiative is proudly supported by the City of Greater Dandenong, Consumer Affairs Victoria, Services Australia, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, the Energy and Water Ombudsman, South East Water, Peninsula Community Legal Centre, Metro Trains Melbourne, Commonwealth Bank, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority, Metro Trains, the Victorian Public Tenants Association and more.


Key Facts:

*150 community members expected to attend 'Bring Your Bills'.

*63% of South East Community Links clients are extremely concerned about the ability to afford basics like food and rent.

*65% of South East Community Links clients are extremely concerned about the ability to pay utility bills.


About us:

About South East Community Links

South East Community Links is a leading community services organisation serving one of Australia’s most diverse and multicultural regions for more than 50 years. We promote social and financial inclusion for all with the belief that every person counts and every system should be fair. We are the largest provider of financial counselling to multicultural communities in Victoria. More information www.secl.org.au


Contact details:

Renee Hancock
Mobile: 0417 055 299
Email: rhancock@secl.org.au

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