In 2019, the Australian Government committed to additional actions to improve the financial outcomes of Australians, including undertaking an immediate review of the coordination and funding of financial counselling services that disadvantaged Australians rely on.
The review noted the benefits of financial counselling to the community, including early intervention and prevention of further financial hardship, advocacy support, and referral to other services for complex issues. The review also highlighted the challenges faced by the financial counselling sector, including increasing demand, fragmented delivery, and the array of complex situations and financial products that can lead to financial hardship.
- Assessed whether existing financial counselling services adequately support clients’ current, emerging or changing needs, including areas such as small business and natural disasters;
- Explored the most efficient and appropriate way to deliver financial counselling services;
- Considered how to improve the coordination and consistency of delivery of financial counselling services across all jurisdictions in Australia;
- Recommended options for improving the predictability and sustainability of funding financial counselling services, including by drawing on successful international funding models and considering options for industry funding; and
- Considered how the use of data can inform policy, service delivery and demand trends.