Norply pair in cash crisis

TRACEY CLARK and Steve Wallbank face being forced to sell their home and leave Kyogle where they've lived all their lives.

They are both out of work following the Norply fire, and they are unable to access Centrelink benefits until January 12.

Steve had worked at the plywood factory for 15 years, Tracey for 10.

They have spent around $800 of their own money on courses to try to improve their employment prospects, but so far it's come to nothing.

Tracey has managed to get 12 hours' work a week.

With their financial future so uncertain Steve put his entire redundancy payout into his home loan.

But Centrelink has told them they will need to use it to live on.

Meanwhile a financial crisis is looming.

For the bare essentials, including their mortgage, the family needs $600 a week.

But even if they qualify for every single Centrelink entitlement they will only get $360 a week.

So they face the heartbreaking possibility that they might have to sell.

"We should be able to get Centrelink straight away," said Steve.

"If my house was paid for it wouldn't worry me.

"If we had decided to throw our jobs in, then yeah, fair enough.

"We've both bust a gut trying to get a house, trying to get ahead, and they just knock you to the ground.

"You understand why people sit around on their arse on the dole and don't do anything.

"If we don't have jobs by Feburary next year we'll probably have to sell the house, and I've just finished renovating it.

"We just won't be able to pay the mortgage."

A spokesman for Centrelink said any redundancy payments would preclude income support from Centrelink, however they always encouraged people to test their eligibility.

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