Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Financial Counsel Always Valuable; Retrenchment for Some, If Not All, Can Be a Priceless Opportunity to Begin a New Life

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Financial Counsel Always Valuable; Retrenchment for Some, If Not All, Can Be a Priceless Opportunity to Begin a New Life

Article excerpt

Byline: PETER WEEKES peter.weekes@northernstar.com.au

WHEN Steve Cox was made redundant last August he was worried about how he would provide for his young family but, as one former colleague described him, he is 'an arsey bastard who can fall into a sewer and come out wearing a dinner suit'.

When The Northern Star tracked down Mr Cox yesterday he was working for a mate installing an aquarium in Brisbane before he starts a new full-time job as a graphic artist in Lismore next month.

"It came as a shock. I had been working at the company since 1991," he said. "I didn't know how I was going to carry on."

But word among his mates soon spread and offers of work started pouring in.

"Things have worked out fantastically. It's been great. I managed to do a bit of work about the house, looked after the kids - the whole Mr Mum thing - and we paid off the mortgage," he said. "I can highly recommend it."

Mr Cox is one of thousands who have been laid off this year as Australia is ravaged by the world economic slowdown.

From big companies, like mining giant Rio Tinto and ANZ Bank to smaller businesses workers are being made redundant or having their hours drastically cut.

As the boom times of the past two decades turn to talk of a pending recession, unemployment in the Northern Rivers is once again on the rise, jumping to 7.2 per cent for the past three months, well above the national average of 4.1 per cent.

Steve Snelgrove, senior financial counsellor at Lismore and District Financial Counselling Service, is at the coal face and has seen the daily impact of the rise in redundancies.

"We've had the biggest year ever in the history of financial counselling in this area," he said.

He said that in the first six months of the year, most people seeking help with their finances were concerned about rising interest rates. That had now changed.

"We are now seeing more and more people who have had their hours cut or have been laid off," he said.

Unfortunately one thing economists now agree on is that more people will lose their jobs during the next six months. Treasury economists predict national unemployment will hit 5 per cent by June. …

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