Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

$1.75 million for financial counsellors

The Australian Government will provide a further $1.75 million to rapidly train 50 new financial counsellors to be on the ground in three months.

We know that many families are facing cost of living pressures against a backdrop of global economic uncertainty.

The availability of professional financial counselling services can provide help in managing these financial pressures in times of need.

We want to equip people to take action early when faced with personal financial difficulties to reduce the likelihood of problems escalating.

This funding will also be used to train emergency relief workers so they can provide basic financial literacy and budgeting advice.

It will also provide training to the many new volunteers needed to deliver enhanced emergency relief investment. Fifty training sessions will be rolled out nationally.

This increased funding will assist Australians doing it tough gain easier access to advice and guidance from financial counsellors and trained volunteers.

It builds on $130 million of extra funding for innovative financial management programs and emergency relief funding announced earlier this year.

The worldwide financial downturn is placing enormous strain on Australians, including families and pensioners.

Wesley Mission has reported a 17 per cent increase in demand for financial assistance, food hampers and financial counselling in Sydney in the three months leading up to Christmas last year.

In parts of Victoria, the St Vincent de Paul Society reported a 10 per cent increase in demand for emergency relief in the first five months of the financial year.

In recognition of the enormous contribution made by the non-profit sector, the Australian Government is also providing more than $93,000 to the Australian Bureau of Statistics for an updated non-profit satellite account.

This research will measure the non-profit sector’s contribution to the Australian economy – providing critical information to the sector.

The Government recognises the critical role of the community sector in getting Australians through these tough times.