In 2019, a comprehensive review (The Countervailing Power: Review of the coordination and funding for financial counselling services across Australia) of financial counselling services in Australia was undertaken and recommendations to ensure the long-term viability of the financial counselling sector, including the establishment of a nationally coordinated approach, and industry funding to strengthen the predictability and stability of funding for financial counselling were made.
This document is the Australian Government's response to the review, outlining their response to each of the recommendations, and sets out their commitment to the following:
- commence work with state and territory governments and relevant stakeholders on a national approach for the funding and coordination of financial counselling (also relevant to the specialist, RFCS and small business financial counselling sector);
- introduce an industry funding model following consultations with industry and the financial counselling sector that will ensure predictability and stability of funding for generalist financial counselling services into the future. The Government’s preference is to reach agreement between the relevant industries in relation to an overall funding strategy. However, if this agreement is not reached, the Government will consider a compulsory mechanism. Industry contributions would ideally start in 2021-22; and
- support in principle the establishment of an independent body to be responsible for the national cooperative financial counselling effort, including delivery of funding.