UPDATE: COUNSELLING services are expecting more Banksia investors looking for help to approach them in the lead up to Christmas.
Kyabram District Health Services chief executive Peter Abraham told Weekly Times Now the service, run by the hospital and the Kyabram Learning Centre, saw 30 people affected by Banksia's collapse in its first day of operation.
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"The early response was quite alarming. There was 30 people in the first day and that's before any announcement of a pay back.
"We expect the demand to grow."
He said in the past couple of weeks the service had been contacted by the occasional person but he anticipated the need to grow in the lead up to Christmas and when investors heard from the receivers about money to be returned.
Counsellors can offer general and financial counselling and are putting people in contact with welfare groups like the Salvation Army and churches.Today the Victorian Government announced the hospital's counselling service would be boosted.
The counselling, which will include professionals from outside the region to protect privacy, is on top of the Victorian Government's Banksia Working Group tripping government support initiatives.
The initiatives include providing access to business mentoring by waiving the standard Small Business Mentoring Service fee of $400 for a series of four mentoring sessions;
- Providing immediate assistance through the Victorian Government Workers in Transition Program to Banksia employees who may lose their job to transition to other employment opportunities through re-skilling
or up-skilling; and
-Providing on–the-ground help for businesses through Mobile Business Centre visits to affected communities over the coming weeks.
Working Group chairman Deputy Premier Peter Ryan said the government would "immediately provide the Kyabram hospital with support to assist with holding more general counselling session".
"This assistance will include providing counsellors from outside the region to protect individuals' privacy and address concerns about sharing financial issues with locals."
He also said other community groups and hospitals providing psychological counselling services would also receive funding.
A State Government spokeswoman said the exact figure to be spent on counselling wasn't known but the announcement was about letting people know help was available.
Late last month the non-bank Banksia went into receivership with $660 million debt.