Financial Counselling

We understand that circumstances arise that impact on our ability to maintain financial security. The loss of employment, changes in our relationship and personal circumstances can make previously managed debt unmanageable, creating insecurity in many aspects of our lives.

We have qualified professionals who can assist and support you with managing debt and creating confidence in your financial situation.

Financial counsellors can assist you to:

  • Understand which debts are priorities
  • Respond to areas of your life that might be contributing to your financial distress such as health, abuse, stability of employment, relationships and housing.
  • Support you to develop a money plan to manage your daily expenses.
  • Identify your options and make informed decisions.
  • Advocate and negotiate on your behalf to. reduce/defer/waive payments with creditors, access grants or concessions, access to dispute resolution schemes.
  • Understand your rights under the National Credit Code to apply for a hardship variation, know how the credit reporting system works, what is acceptable behaviour from debt collectors, understand the impact of bankruptcy.
  • Support you to access legal advice or other services that can support you to resolve your financial difficulties.

Financial counselling services are free, non-judgmental, independent and confidential. To talk to a financial counsellor or learn more about this service contact our intake line.

Financial Counselling Intake

To talk to a financial counsellor or learn more about this service contact our intake line.
Our central intake service operates Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm.

Phone: 03 9549 5288 or
Email: fcs@secl.org.au
For telephone advice call:
National Debt helpline: 1800 007 007
To find financial counsellors in other areas visit the Money Smart website.

Who can access Financial Counselling?

We don’t refuse financial counselling service to anyone. If you are experiencing any of the
below, we can help you.

Anyone:

  • On a Centrelink or low income
  • With no income (including refugees)
  • On workcover payments
  • Working, but with unmanageable debt
  • Self-employed (no companies)

Anyone experiencing:

  • job loss
  • gambling behaviour
  • ill health
  • substance use
  • family breakdown
What do financial counsellors do?

Financial counsellors provide advice and support to people in financial difficulty. Services are delivered face-to-face or by phone through the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007. In contrast to financial planners who provide wealth creation strategies, financial counsellors provide practical advice to help people who have debts and are struggling to meet ordinary living expenses. They are experts in consumer and social security law, bankruptcy law, industry hardship obligations/codes and working with industry ombudsmen, as well as being skilled counsellors

What can Financial Counsellors assist with?

We provide financial counselling to assist you with:

  • doing a full assessment of your financial situation – including regular income and expenditure, assets and liabilities – support you to fully understand your position
  • providing advice on how to negotiate with your creditors, government agencies or other business providers
  • negotiating directly with your creditors in certain circumstances
  • providing advice about what options, rights and responsibilities you may have
  • setting goal plans
  • referring you to other services you may need, such as legal services, crisis food and accommodation services, and health services

To talk to a financial counsellor or learn more about this service contact our intake line.
Our central intake service operates Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm.

What will I need to bring if I see a Financial Counsellor?

When you first see a Financial Counsellor you will be taken through a detailed assessment of your circumstances so the options for addressing your situation can be fully explored. Your Financial Counsellor will work alongside you while you decide how to address your financial problems. When attending an appointment please bring:

  • Loan contracts
  • Recent loan and/or credit card statements
  • Details of accommodation (rates notice if owned or paying off)
  • Summary of fines
  • Evidence of income (pay slips or Centrelink Income Statement)
  • Details of recent contact with your creditor
Useful links
National Debt helpline- https://ndh.org.au/
Australian Financial Complaints authority https://www.afca.org.au/
Energy and Water Ombudsman- https://www.ewov.com.au/
Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman https://www.tio.com.au/
Victorian Ombudsman https://www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au/
Money Smart – Budget Planner https://moneysmart.gov.au/budgeting/how-to-do-a-budget