19th May 2014 – Four hundred financial counsellors will converge on Melbourne this Tuesday for the annual Financial Counselling Australia Conference. With the assistance and renewed funding from the Federal Government, financial counsellors will provide free and independent advice and support to over 220,000 cash-strapped Australians this financial year.

Fiona Guthrie, Executive Director of Financial Counselling Australia, said this advice would have positive effects on clients’ financial, physical and mental health, while saving the economy millions of dollars.

‘The numbers are compelling, 66 per cent of clients have their financial difficulties resolved, 63 per cent feel their mental and emotional wellbeing is improved, and 45 per cent feel physically healthier,’[1] said Ms Guthrie.

‘Financial counselling provides benefits far beyond its client base. Research from Adelaide University found that every dollar invested in financial counselling results in five dollars of benefits – a good rate of return by any measure.[2] Financial counselling can change lives and is also fantastic for the economy.’

Highlights of the Financial Counselling Australia’s 2014 conference include:

  • The Future of Money – showcasing new money management tools and how they can help clients
  • New Telecommunications Hardship Framework – the launch of a new industry wide set of policies and principals for dealing with financially stressed clients
  • Fine and Infringements – Professor Arie Freiberg AM, Chair of the Sentencing Advisory Council talks about reforming the collection of fines and infringements
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Showcase – what challenges face financial counsellors working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?

‘The telecommunications industry hardship framework is a really positive step and a tangible demonstration from industry that they will stand by their customers in difficult times’ said Ms Guthrie. ‘The framework has been developed collaboratively between financial counsellors and telcos.’

Anyone who is in financial difficulty can contact a free and independent financial counsellor on 1800 007 007 or visit www.debtselfhelp.org.au.

Financial counselling: information, support and advocacy for people in financial difficulty 

Media contact: Fiona Guthrie 0402 426 835


[1] I Wish I’d Know Sooner, Dr Nicola Brackertz, Swinburne University, The Salvation Army, 2012.
[2] Paying it Forward: Cost benefit analysis of the Wyatt Trust funded financial counselling services, Parvin Mahmoudi, Ann-Louise Hordacre and John Spoehr, The University of Adelaide, 2014.