Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Boost for emergency relief and money management projects

To help vulnerable Australians during the global recession, the Rudd Government will provide an additional $130.4 million to double funding for Emergency Relief and expand innovative Money Management Projects to help low income earners.

Community organisations are reporting increased demand for emergency relief from both low and middle income families, including people experiencing housing stress and small business owners.

The Rudd Government will work closely with the non-profit sector to deliver this increased funding to support vulnerable Australians through the financial crisis and build the skills needed for longer term financial capability and resilience.

Current Emergency Relief Funding will be doubled from 1 March 2009 until 30 June 2011 – an increase of more than $80.4 million.

And from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2011, the Government will also invest $50.0 million for Innovative Money Management projects – such as no interest loan schemes or matched savings schemes – to help individuals build financial self-reliance.

This funding, along with existing Government investment in financial counselling and emergency relief, forms the Government’s new Financial Management Program.

As well as providing immediate assistance, the new Financial Management Program will link people with other services they need, such as financial skills training, financial counselling and employment services.

The Government currently provides funding to around 750 organisations across the country to deliver emergency relief and/or financial counselling.

These new measures in the 2009-10 Budget build on previous action by the Government, including a doubling of the Commonwealth Financial Counselling program announced in the 2008-09 Budget.

In direct response to the global recession, the Government has already funded extra financial support services. These include:

  • training for 50 new financial counsellors;
  • funding for the Australian Financial Counselling and Credit Reform Association to continue its important work as a peak body for the financial counselling sector; and
  • the development of web based financial management tools by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

More information on these measures is contained in the Fact Sheets available online at: FaHCSIA website