Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Financial counselling for vulnerable Victorians

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Tony Robinson MP, Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs
    Mike Symon MP, Member for Deakin

The Australian Government is delivering on its commitment to improve access to financial counselling by providing an additional $1 million to fund 11 financial counselling positions across Victoria for another year (2010-11).

These positions were originally funded by the Victorian Government in response to the global economic crisis, to target Victorians who have experienced, or are facing, job loss or reduced working hours.

To ensure vulnerable Victorians continue to be supported during these tough economic times the Australian Government has extended these positions for another year.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, said demand remained high for additional financial counselling services across Victoria.

“We know that many families are facing mortgage stress, credit card debt and cost of living pressures – often as a result of unemployment, sickness or family breakdown,” Ms Macklin said.

“It’s important that we reach people early to provide the support needed to reduce the likelihood of problems escalating.

“These 11 financial counsellors will continue to provide free financial advice and support to people in Melbourne and across regional Victoria in places like Ballarat and Bendigo.”

The Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs, Tony Robinson, welcomed the Australian Government’s commitment to continue the Victorian financial counselling program.

“Investment in financial counselling services will assist agencies to respond to additional demand arising from the global economic downturn, so more Victorians can access the help they need to manage their money and get back on track,” Mr Robinson said.

The Member for Deakin, Mike Symon, said the continuation of the program was essential for people under financial pressure in regional Victoria.

“Many regional Victorians are still doing in tough and access to free financial counselling is so important for helping people get on top of their finances before they hit rock bottom,” Mr Symon said.

“I’m so pleased the people of Deakin have access to two financial counsellors working from the Eastern Access Community Health service.”

The funding for these positions is part of the Australian Government’s announcement of an additional $12 million over two years for community and local government organisations to continue delivering financial counselling services around the country.

In 2009-10 the Government is providing around $11.7 million to 90 organisations across Australia to deliver Commonwealth Financial Counselling services.

The financial counselling positions are:
Location Agency Positions
North & West Metro – Werribee & Preston Anglicare Victoria 2
Eastern Metro – Ringwood Eastern Access Community Health 2
Gippsland – Morwell Anglicare Victoria 1
Southern Metro – Cranbourne Southern Health 2
Barwon-South Western – Warrnambool Community Connections 1
Grampians – Ballarat Child & Family Services Ballarat 1
Loddon Mallee – Bendigo St Lukes Anglicare 1
Hume – Shepparton Goulburn Valley Community Health Service 1