13.6 C
Friday , 7 June 2024

Victorian Government Boosts Financial Counselling for Victorians

Must read

The Victorian government is enhancing support for Victorians facing financial challenges by providing free access to financial counselling services. Minister for Consumer Affairs Gabrielle Williams announced an additional $15 million to aid those struggling with mortgage or rental stress.

“Cost of living continues to put pressure on families right across the state, and that’s why we are providing free financial counselling services to help them get back on their feet,” Williams stated.

Sarah’s Story: Overcoming Mortgage Stress

Sarah, a single mother of two from Melbourne, found herself in a financial bind when her work hours were drastically reduced during the pandemic. With mounting bills and a mortgage she could no longer afford, Sarah felt overwhelmed and desperate. After contacting the National Debt Helpline, she was connected with a financial counsellor who helped her renegotiate her mortgage terms and set up a manageable payment plan.

“I was on the brink of losing my home,” Sarah shared. “But my financial counsellor guided me through every step, and now I can breathe easier knowing I have a plan in place.”

This funding is part of a record investment in financial counselling by the government. It follows a $6.8 million allocation in the Victorian Budget 2024/25 for specialised financial counselling services aimed at victim-survivors of family violence.

Consumer Affairs Victoria will begin accepting expressions of interest from not-for-profit organisations offering financial counselling services in July.

“Financial counselling can make a real difference when the bills start to pile up, and because of our investment, thousands more Victorians will be able to access free and confidential advice through their local financial counselling provider,” Williams added.

READ  Who may or may not travel to the Philippines during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Michael’s Journey: Relief from Rental Stress

Michael, a young professional living in Geelong, experienced severe financial stress after unexpectedly losing his job. With rent due and no income, he feared eviction. Michael reached out to a local not-for-profit organisation funded by the government’s financial counselling program. His financial counsellor helped him access emergency relief and negotiate a temporary rent reduction with his landlord.

“Getting that support was a lifeline,” Michael said. “I don’t know what I would have done without the help to keep a roof over my head while I got back on my feet.”

The Financial Counselling Program, managed by Consumer Affairs Victoria, assisted nearly 19,000 Victorians last financial year, including 3,806 individuals affected by family violence. Financial counsellors help people manage their finances, negotiate with creditors, and establish payment plans.

Over the past three years, the government has invested over $45 million in community agencies to deliver both general and family violence-specific financial counselling. Additionally, more than $16 million has been allocated to the Financial Counselling Program this financial year.

The new $15 million investment for mortgage or rental stress comes on top of the $7.8 million Rental Stress Support Package announced earlier this month. The government also launched a renting task force to address substandard rentals and ensure safe housing for renters.

Victorians in need of financial counselling can contact the National Debt Helpline at ndh.org.au or call 1800 007 007 for assistance.

For people like Sarah and Michael, these financial counselling services provide crucial support during tough times, helping them regain stability and hope for the future.

More articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

- Advertisement -

Latest article