Agency a lifeline

At a time when Australia’s richest person just got a whole lot wealthier, the lot of most remains the daily struggle to make ends meet.

Iron ore magnate Gina Hancock’s $US17.4 billion fortune – up $US2 billion in the past year – means she is also the world’s seventh-richest woman.

And in a sign of how the concentration of the world’s wealth to the few is becoming even more pronounced, her four children have now made it to the world’s rich list thanks to their individual $1.3 billion kitties.

All of this seems so remote from reality that it is as if it doesn’t exist, yet so many people who work just as hard as any billionaire still find it hard to keep food on the table.

What has been an especially concerning trend in more recent years is the way the financial pressures once the preserve of the poor have become very much a part of the way of life for “average” families. And if you’re poor, it’s even more dire.

Even those with two working parents, people who might otherwise describe themselves as part of the middle-class, are being hit. It is a fact that so much of that is down to the rising cost of living, especially utility price hikes.

One of the first agencies to detect this worrying trend was St David’s Care in Albury. St David’s has been at the forefront of financial and gambling counselling in the Border region for some time.

Often the public face of that has been its team leader and counsellor Kaily Goodsell, who regularly speaks out on the increasing challenges faced by ordinary families and individuals.

A key part of the job the agency does is showing people that there is a path they can follow to get their financial difficulties back on track.

That can be as simple as providing tips on budgeting, on consolidating debt, on setting-up payment plans and learning the ins and outs of financially responsible shopping that still ensures every meal time is a healthy one.

It’s not an easy adjustment to make and it does not mean the financial pressures will disappear, but equipping people with the tools so they can at least plan ahead without the pressure of financial worry is a significant way of achieving positive change.

The Border community is indeed fortunate to have agencies such as St David’s Care and so we congratulate it on reaching the wonderful milestone of its 30th anniversary.