Review of financial counselling services released

The Morrison Government is strengthening our commitment to supporting the financial counselling sector with the release of the Review of the Coordination and Funding for Financial Counselling Services across Australia.

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the Government accepted the aims of the recommendations and would work with the sector and broader industry to consider to develop the Government response.

“The financial counselling sector provides face-to-face help for 125,000 people every year and demand is growing as Australians are faced with an increasingly complex suite of financial products,” Minister Ruston said.

“The Morrison Government understands how important it is for the financial counselling sector to be well positioned to support Australians in need of financial advice and advocacy.

Minister Ruston thanked Ms Louise Sylvan AM for her thorough independent report.

“The Review confirms that Australia has high quality financial counselling services and provides a basis for future growth of the sector based on real experiences and expert advice,” Minister Ruston said.

“It also identifies opportunities for the broader business community including the banks, utility providers and telcos to identify Australians who are struggling with their finances earlier and to contribute to funding the sector which helps stop people falling further into debt.”

Minister Ruston has set up a working group of key stakeholders including Financial Counselling Australia, Australian Banking Association, The Salvation Army and The Energy Charter to help develop the Government’s response to the Review. The group had its first meeting this week.

The Review was commissioned off the back of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry to help improve the coordination and funding of financial counselling services.

“The release of this Review shows the Morrison Government’s commitment to implementing the Royal Commission’s recommendations swiftly,” Minister Ruston said.

The Government is providing more than $330 million to help Australians navigate financial crises and build financial wellbeing including to tackle problem gambling and the particular financial pressures related to domestic violence between 2019 and 2023.

More information is available on the Department of Social Services website.