Debt assistance and financial counselling

By You and Money

Life can sometimes be tough, particularly if you’re dealing with growing debt that you can’t repay. Sometimes you just need to get help. There are government and professional organisations that can work with you to get you back on track.

Financial counselling

If you’re struggling to manage your finances or experiencing financial hardship, there are free counselling services available to help you. Offered by community organisations, community legal centres and some government agencies, they can help you resolve your money issues.

Financial counsellors can help you to:

  • assess if you’re eligible for government assistance
  • design a budget and find ways to improve your financial situation
  • negotiate repayment arrangements with your creditors
  • apply for a hardship variation
  • deal with the prospect of house eviction or disconnection of utilities (gas, electricity, phone).

For financial counselling contacts in your state or territory, visit the Commonwealth Financial Counselling Directory at www.fahcsia.gov.au/sa/families/progserv/Pages/cfcp-cfcp_directory.aspx.

Hardship variations

A hardship variation is an application to your credit provider to negotiate a new repayment arrangement if you can’t pay your debts due to illness, unemployment or changes in your personal circumstances.

To find out more, visit www.moneysmart.gov.au/managing-my-money/managing-debts/trouble-with-debt#apply.

For more information about bankruptcy and other options that may be available to you, visit the Australian Government Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia website at www.itsa.gov.au/.

Other useful links

www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/

Get legal advice

If you need legal advice to sort out your assets and can’t afford a private solicitor, there are free legal services available. Community legal centres and Legal Aid agencies are located in all states and territories.

Legal services

National Association of Community Legal Centres: www.naclc.org.au/

Legal Aid Services

Vic: www.legalaid.vic.gov.au
NSW: www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au
TAS: www.legalaid.tas.gov.au
WA: www.legalaid.wa.gov.au
SA: www.lsc.sa.gov.au
NT: www.ntlac.nt.gov.au/
ACT: www.legalaidact.org.au

Consumer credit legal services

ACT: Consumer Law Centre of the ACT
NSW: Consumer Credit Legal Centre NSW
QLD: Caxton Legal Centre
VIC: Consumer Action Law Centre
WA: Consumer Credit Legal Service WA

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