Financial counselling increase recommended

Anglicare has welcomed the findings of a national review recommending a major investment in the nation’s financial counselling services.

“Financial counsellors provide free, confidential assistance to people from all walks of life who are experiencing financial difficulties,” said Anglicare CEO Chris Jones. “Often these issues are linked to unexpected life challenges such as serious illness, loss of employment or relationship breakdown. We know that early intervention makes a huge difference, so it is vital people can access services as quickly as possible”.

The Australian Government announced the national review following the findings of the Royal Commission into the Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

The review was led by former ACCC deputy chair, Louise Sylvan AM. Her report, released last week, recommended industry be levied to help fund financial counselling, with the aim of doubling access in the next four years.

“During the review, I was struck by the positive attitude towards financial counselling services from all stakeholders,” said Ms Sylvan. “The work undertaken by financial counsellors is widely admired and widely valued. There is also a strong consensus that current levels of service provision are insufficient to adequately address demand, with clear evidence that service delivery is limited by funding constraints”.

The recommended increase in funding would enable an additional 200,000 people a year to access financial counselling services across Australia.

The Sylvan report also recommended the establishment of an independent body responsible for the national cooperative financial counselling effort.

There are currently 500 financial counsellors in Australia providing face to face services to 125,000 people and receiving 180,000 calls through the National Debt Helpline.

To find out more visit Anglicare’s Financial Counselling Services or call 1800 007 007 to make an appointment with a financial counsellor.

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