Interest rate hike moves more people into mortgage stress: here is where to get support

Increasing interest rates and the rising cost of living are close to the minds of Western Australians already worn thin by the pandemic years. With the Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers saying that inflation “will get worse before it gets better,” times are about to get even harder.

There is no doubt, there is a rocky road ahead. Many people will find themselves looking for support for the first time and do not know where to start.

Yet, the earlier people seek help, the more options are available and the easier it is to stop problems from worsening. Here are some local resources to try If you, or a loved one, are experiencing difficulties.

Financial hardship

When people are having trouble paying their mortgage, they often neglect other bills, such as council and water rates and home insurance, to keep making the mortgage payment.

Whatever the reason, if you are falling behind with bills or feeling overwhelmed, this is the time to make an appointment with a financial counsellor.

  • There is free confidential financial counselling available for all. Visit the Financial Counselling Network’s site ( to find a list of local financial counsellors with immediate availability (scroll down to the bottom of the home page for this list).  They have an impressive range of resources on their site – keep an eye out for a helpful article on how to survive the increasing costs of living. They have also recently launched a Financial Coaching program, which aims to build long term financial wellness and resilience.  Contact the FCN website for enquiries and eligibility.
  • Emergency Relief Assistance is available to support you if you:
  • Are wondering how to pay the rent
  • Are struggling to put food on the table
  • Are facing overdue bills

Contact the Emergency Relief and Food Access Service on 1800 979 777 from 9.30am-5pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) to help you in identifying and applying for help

  • The National Debt Helpline is a not-for-profit service (1800 007 007) that helps people in Australia tackle their debt problems and get their lives back on track.

Mental health

Ongoing uncertainty and financial pressures can impact mental health and there are increasing numbers of people reaching out for support.

A local Mental Health Support Resource makes it simpler to find mental health supports across the Local Government areas of Cockburn, Fremantle, and Melville for all ages including young people. The resource brings together details of crisis lines, local free face to face services, vetted telephone and online supports, and contacts for community connectors.

How to sign up to the resource:

  1. Text Wellbeing4Me to 0488 884 151
  2. You will receive a link to the app and resource via a text message
  3. Tap the link to access
  4. If you do not already have the Access My Community app, you will be directed to your application app e.g., Google Play or App Store
  5. Once the Access My Community app is downloaded, open it to see the resource: Mental Health Support

Or visit

Family and domestic violence

When people are experiencing financial stress the rates of family and domestic violence increases.

  • The Yourtoolkitcom website provides a free step-by-step guide on personal safety support services for people facing family and domestic violence. This resource was developed in consultation with women who have experienced family and domestic violence, support workers and industry professionals who understand the needs of women and families experiencing abuse.
  • 1800RESPECT is the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service. Open 24 hours (1800 737 732) to support people experiencing at risk or impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse.

It’s complicated…

Often life challenges do not neatly fit into boxes.  It is not uncommon to be experiencing several concerns at the same time and be confused about which bit to address first.

There are community navigators in our local area who can talk through the best way to access help for your individual circumstances.

  • Fremantle and Rockingham Family Support Network

Funded by the state government through the Department of Communities this service links families into a range of support services.

P. 1300 951 190

  • Library Connect – City of Fremantle, Walyalup Civic Centre

A walk-in service run by St Pats at Fremantle Library for advice, referrals, and support.

Available: Tuesday & Thursday 1pm to 7pm

Wednesday 9am to 6pm, Saturday 9am to 2pm

  • PeerPathways

A service that has been set up to assist people find support for their mental and physical wellbeing. Trained peer navigators assist individuals, families, and Carers to navigate services across the State.  They can be reached on 08 9477 2809 or via their website