Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Counselling Support Doubled to Ease Financial Stress

The Rudd Government is supporting working families under financial pressure by expanding financial counselling services and support as part of a $20 million Australian Government commitment over four years.

We know that many families are facing mortgage stress, cost of living increases and credit card debt. The availability of professional counselling services can provide help in managing these financial pressures.

An extra $10 million over four years for the Commonwealth Financial Counselling program, a free community-based financial counselling service, will see their annual budget double from $2.5 million to $5 million a year.

In addition, a further $10 million over four years will provide families under financial stress with better access to financial management information as part of a service provided by Centrelink and increased financial literacy education.

It will also contribute to increased financial literacy and skills, resulting in people being better able to manage their personal financial affairs.

The additional funding will be used to:

  • increase the capacity of existing Commonwealth Financial Counselling services, so that people can see a financial counsellor sooner
  • provide up to 20 additional financial counsellors in high need areas
  • develop and distribute practical financial management information products through Centrelink’s Financial Information Service and other providers of financial information and counselling.

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

By doubling funding, services will be more readily available to people in mortgage stress and in areas where people have little or no access to services, including remote communities.