Additional support for flood-impacted communities

The Albanese Labor Government is committed to supporting flood-impacted communities in Central West New South Wales with extra funding to employ more financial counsellors.

A total of $1.1 million will be allocated to two well established local providers for use over 2022-23 and 2023-24.

Financial counsellors have been assisting with access to grants, suspending mortgage/credit card/debt payments, insurance claims and emotional support.

The recovery phase from major flooding last year is requiring counsellors to work more intensively with clients, in addition to regular casework, and requires extended travel due to the size of the region.

The additional workload is placing strain on financial counselling that cannot be met with existing resources. This is on top of the already identified unmet demand for personal financial counselling services through the Industry Funding Model for financial counselling.

The funding will support additional financial counsellor positions for individuals.

It follows on advice from the National Coordination Group on the need for additional financial counselling resources in Central West NSW.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said past experience showed the need for personal financial counselling increases several months after the immediate disaster impact.

“The Albanese Labor Government is committed to helping those in need and ensuring there are appropriate services in place to support that,” Minister Rishworth said.

“This funding will mean more financial counsellors can be on the ground where they are needed, helping those flood-impacted communities recover.

“We have acted immediately on the advice of the National Coordination Group to ensure this support is there.”

Special Envoy for Disaster Recovery and Senator for New South Wales Tony Sheldon said these financial counsellors will be a huge help to people who are struggling with the aftermath.

“For families who have lost homes or livelihoods, access to financial counselling can be vital to getting back on their feet,” Senator Sheldon said.

“This commitment from the Albanese Government is about giving people the tools they need to rebuild their businesses, livelihoods and futures.”

The funding comes on top of more than $10 million in additional funding to Emergency and Food Relief providers in response to recent flood events and cost of living pressures in December.

It is also in addition to the extension of $190 million over two years for Emergency Relief, Food Relief, and Financial Counselling that was announced in November.

Financial counselling services for individuals, primary producers and businesses is also available for flood affected communities through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.