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Living with financial hardship is never easy, especially if the light at the end of the tunnel never seems to get closer because of the burden of unpaid fines.
Connect Health & Community understands the challenges that some of us face and is trialling the Working Development Permit (WDP) program, as a designated sponsor with partner agency Fines Victoria through our Gambler’s Help Southern service.
The program allows eligible people who are engaged in treatment with Gambler’s Help Southern to work off fines in a non-financial way.
If a client engages in treatment with either a therapeutic counsellor and or a financial counsellor, they can work off up to 6.6 penalty units worth of fines per month.
At the start of a client’s engagement with Gambler’s Help Southern our team will determine a client’s eligibility to take part in the program. Acute financial hardship or addiction to gambling or volatile substances, are two reasons under which someone can gain eligibility with Gambler’s Help, however there are also other reasons that clients may be able to use the program with other agencies.
Once enrolled in the program a sponsor will work with the client and determine the best way they can work off fines. Some of the non-financial methods include:
Our counsellors then provide monthly updates to the Fines Victoria WDP team until completion, or an agreed end date, is reached.
Since joining the Working Development Permit program in February this year, Gambler’s Help Southern has supported 20 clients. Three people have completed their program in full and more than $10,000 of fines have been discharged.
All three clients who completed their WDP with us accessed our therapeutic and financial counselling to reduce their gambling behaviours and said they felt the program was a positive addition to the supports they received.
If you or a loved one could benefit from this service, contact your local Community Legal Centre or Fines Victoria WDP to find a sponsor in your area. Categories of support include:
Not all fines are eligible under the program, but this is all worked out at the time of application.
If you or your agency is interested in becoming a sponsor, contact Laura Sanderson of Peninsula Community Legal Centre on 03) 9784 4225.
Or visit Fines Victoria website to find out more CLICK HERE
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