Financial counsellors provide information, support and advocacy to people in financial difficulty. Financial counselling services are free, independent and confidential. Financial counsellors can assist you to:
- Understand which debts are priorities
- Understand other factors affecting your situation such as health, abuse, stability of employment, relationship status, housing situation and how they fit with money.
- Support you to develop a money plan to manage your daily expenses.
- Identify your options and their advantages and disadvantages so you can make informed decisions.
- Advocate and negotiate e.g. reduce/defer/waive payments with creditors, access grants or concessions, access to dispute resolution schemes.
- Get the correct information. Utilise 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.
- Identify if you need referral for legal advice or other services
South East Community Links delivers Financial Counselling across the southern metropolitan region as Financial Counselling Southern. The service is available in the Cities of Greater Dandenong, Casey and the Shire of Cardinia.
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.
Financial Counselling Intake
Phone: 03 9549 5288 or
Follow the links below for more information.
Funded by the Department of Social Services (Australia) and the Victorian Government via Consumer Affairs Victoria
From time to time many people find themselves struggling to buy food, pay the rent or mortgage and can be juggling a number of debts. A Financial Counsellor can assist you to understand your options so you can get back on your feet. Financial Counsellors are qualified to work alongside people in financial hardship to provide information, support and advocacy to assist people with money troubles work out a plan to address the situation. Largely funded by State and Federal Government services are free, independent and confidential. Financial counsellors have extensive knowledge in a range of areas of law and policy; including consumer credit law, debt enforcement practices, bankruptcy, industry hardship policies and government concession frameworks. Financial Counselling at SCAAB is funded by Federal and State Governments. Useful links: Financial & Consumer Rights Council Financial Counselling Australia
Financial Counsellors can assist you to understand your rights and options about a range of issues and work with you on a plan to address your financial challenges. A Financial Counsellor is qualified to assist with:
- Difficulty paying your mortgage
- Car loan problems
- Trouble with credit cards
- Banking disputes
- Short term (pay day) loans
- Utility (gas, electricity or water) payment plans and/or disputes
- The financial impact of gambling
- Phone debts and/or disputes
- Letters and phone calls from debt collectors
- Taxation debt
- Accessing superannuation
- Budgeting and financial management
For more information about these topics see our Troubleshooting Tips and Information sheet here.
- On a Centrelink or low income
- With no income (including refugees)
- On workcover payments
- Working, but with unmanageable debt
- Self-employed (no companies)
- job loss
- gambling behaviour
- ill health
- substance use
- family breakdown
Appointments for Financial Counselling Southern are available at SCAAB Springvale, Clarinda Community Centre and Monash Health sites in Dandenong, Cranbourne, Berwick and Pakenham. To contact our central Intake Service:
- Call 9549 5288
- Email your enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org
For telephone advice call:
- National Financial Counsellor hotline 1800 007 007
To find financial counsellors in other areas visit the Money Smart website.
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 creditors
Money Troubles videos can be viewed on our YouTube page. These videos are designed to assist those newly arrived in Australia to increase knowledge of financial systems, traps and pitfalls and understand how a financial counsellor can assist if problems arise. Information is available on:
- Utility Bills (using Centrepay)
- Family Money (contributing to the family budget)
- Youth and money goals (discussing money goals)
- Fines (what can happen if you don’t pay your traffic infringements)
- Car loans (losing your job and paying off your loan)
- Store cards and debt (understanding the pitfalls of store cards)
- Payday lenders (avoiding the high interest rates and understanding cooling off periods)
- Budgeting – making your Centrelink income stretch
Information is available in English, Arabic, Burmese, Dari & Farsi. Education guides are also available to accompany the video content: Utility Bills Youth and money goals Fines Car loans Store cards and debt Payday lenders Budgeting & Family Money A list of useful tools and information can be downloaded here.
Money Smart – Problems paying your mortgage Money Help – Tools and advice to help manage money and debt Doing it Tough? Financial Ombudsman Service Credit Ombudsman Service Energy and Water Ombudsman Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Victorian Ombudsman Money Smart – Budget Planner Free ‘Track my spend’ app