Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Increased support for financial counselling services

More Australians will be able to access free confidential financial counselling thanks to a funding boost from the Gillard Government.

An additional $340,000 will take total funding for the national financial counselling helpline to $5.3 million.

The Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins, announced the extra funding in her address to the 2013 Financial Counselling Australia Conference in Sydney today.

“This investment delivers on the Gillard Government’s continuing commitment to support vulnerable Australians at risk of financial exclusion and disadvantage,” Ms Collins said.

“We know that early intervention works and that picking up the phone is often the first step towards getting assistance.

“In 2011-12, the national helpline was utilised by more than 20,000 people across Australia.

“This funding boost will ensure more Australians can access this vital service and get the assistance they need to overcome financial problems, better manage their money, and get on the road to greater financial independence and better quality of life.”

The Government currently supports 99 community and local government organisations to deliver financial counselling services across the country.

This is part of an overall investment in the $490 million Financial Management Program aimed at building financial resilience and wellbeing.

More about the Government’s strong track record of investment in this area can be found in Minister Julie Collins’ speech.