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Other contacts/ more information

Speak to your Bank

Your bank can be a good source of information, not only about banking products and services, but also about ways to manage your money effectively and take control of your finances.

Start by checking what resources are available on your bank’s website. You may find many of your questions are answered on the FAQ page of your bank’s website.

You can also phone your bank or go to a bank branch and speak to the staff there. Contact numbers for your banks specialist hardship teams are available here.

The ABA produces a range of booklets on important topics, such as your rights and responsibilities, managing your money, increasing your savings, managing credit, making good investment and superannuation decisions, planning for home ownership and planning for retirement.

You can find these booklets available on the ABA website here or freecall the ABA on 1800 009 180 for a free hard copy.

There are also financial literacy factsheets on a wide range of topics available, for example, “Dealing with Debt – how banks can help if you are experiencing financial difficulty”.

Speak to a Financial Counsellor

There are financial counselling services available in every State and Territory that provide a free, independent and confidential service.

A financial counsellor can help you get a clear picture of your financial situation and develop strategies to get you back in control of your money – whether it's:

  • creating effective personal budgets,
  • helping you organise your financial information,
  • suggesting ways to improve your financial situation,
  • working out manageable repayment plans,
  • negotiating with your creditors,
  • seeing if you’re eligible for government assistance,
  • explaining debt recovery procedures, bankruptcy and other alternatives, or
  • addressing a financial crisis caused by a problem with health, unemployment, family break-up or gambling.

The Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) website contains a service locator for organisations in each State or Territory that provides financial counselling. The service locater is available here

For more information, go to the Financial Counselling Australia website or freecall 1800 007 007 (available 9:30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Please note you will be automatically transferred to the phone service in your state.)

Speak to a Legal Adviser

Sometimes money and debt problems can develop into legal problems.

There are many services that can provide you with free legal information, give you advice about documents, processes and options, help you negotiate with your creditors, help organise an accredited interpreter for people from non-English speaking backgrounds, and try and help you resolve your legal problems without having to go to court.

Legal aid

There are legal aid services available in every State and Territory that provide a free, independent and confidential service.The National Legal Aid website contains a legal aid service locator for organisations in each State or Territory. For more information, go to www.nationallegalaid.org or phone (03) 6236 3813.

Community legal centres

The National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) provides details of community legal centres across Australia. For more information, go to www.naclc.org.au or phone 02 9264 9595.

Credit and debt advice services

Centrelink

Centrelink may be able to provide you with income support even if you do not receive a Centrelink payment. A list of Centrelink contact numbers is available here.

Financial Literacy Information

Banks

  • Many banks have financial literacy resources and workshops available for free to help their customers develop their money management knowledge and skills for example, setting personal and financial goals, plan for expenses, manage debt and more. Call your bank to ask if they offer these programs.

Community organisations and charities

  • Many community organisations also offer financial literacy programs. For example, the Smith Family in partnership with ANZ offers the MoneyMinded course. For more information click here. Wesley Mission offers the program In Charge of my Money (supported by St George). For more information click here

See below for more information about charities and community organisations.

Centrelink Financial Information Service

Centrelink’s Financial Information Service (FIS) is an education and information service available to anyone. The service is provided by specialist Centrelink officers and is independent, free and confidential.

While the FIS does not provide financial advice, FIS Officers can help you to make informed financial decisions.

The FIS can also help you to understand the possible consequences of your financial decisions.

The FIS runs a program of financial education seminars, and also produces a range of fact sheets with information about specific financial issues and savings planners to help you budget for savings.

To speak to a FIS Officer, or to request booklets and other information, call Centrelink on 132 300 or visit the FIS website here.

To find out more about seminars or to make a seminar booking, call 136 357 or email fis.seminar.bookings@centrelink.gov.au.

ASIC

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has an infoline and a consumer website. ASIC’s Money Smart website contains information for consumers about banking and financial products, such as financial tips and safety checks as well as information about making a complaint, including a number of booklets you can download, For example ‘Dealing with debt: Your rights and responsibilities’, ‘Credit, loans and debt: Stay out of trouble when you borrow money’, and ‘You can complain: A guide to solving problems with products and services’.

For more information, go to www.moneysmart.gov.au.

To contact ASIC call: 1300 300 630

Complaints

Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)?

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is an independent complaints scheme that is free for bank customers. It provides an accessible way of resolving disputes without having to go to court. If a customer agrees with the FOS’s decision, the decision is binding on the bank. Importantly, FOS will not deal with a dispute unless the customer has gone through the bank’s internal dispute resolution process first.

You can telephone the FOS office on 1300 780 808, or visit the FOS website for more information here at www.fos.org.au.

For more information on dispute resolution click here.

TheCredit Ombudsman Service Limited

The Credit Ombudsman Service Limited (COSL) provides consumers and financial service providers an accessible, independent and fair dispute resolution service. COSL offers an impartial dispute resolution service as an alternative to legal proceedings for resolving complaints with a participating financial service provider. It provides a free service to consumers.

Some banks are a member of COSL as well as FOS.

For more information, including the scheme rules and an FAQ on complaints, click here

You can find out if your financial services provider is a member of COSL (which it needs to be in order for COSL to consider your complaint) here

To contact COSL call: 1800 138 422 (9am to 5pm weekdays)

For more information on dispute resolution click here.

The Code Compliance Monitoring Committee (CCMC)?

If a customer believes a bank has breached the Code, including Clause 28 (which is concerned with financial difficulty), they have the right to allege a breach of the Code to the CCMC.

The CCMC cannot determine claims of financial loss; such claims should be referred to FOS.

For more information about the CCMC and the Code click here. The Code includes the CCMC Mandate which outlines the role, functions and powers of the CCMC.

Other information can be found on the CCMC’s website.

For more information on dispute resolution click here.

Charities and community organisations

Many charities and community organisations provide counselling (including financial counselling), financial literacy programs and emergency relief.

A list of Australian charities is available here.

Some specific organisations are listed below:

Wesley Mission

http://www.wesleymission.org.au/services/counselling/?ct_from=b

Berry Street

http://www.berrystreet.org.au/OurServices

Brotherhood of St Laurence

http://www.bsl.org.au/

Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service

http://www.goodshepvic.org.au/

Kildonan Uniting Care

http://www.kildonan.unitingcare.org.au/

Mission Australia

http://www.missionaustralia.com.au/

Red Cross

http://www.redcross.org.au/

Salvation Army

http://salvos.org.au/need-help/financial-troubles/financial-counselling.php

Smith Family

http://www.thesmithfamily.com.au/site/page.cfm

St Vincent De Paul

http://www.vinnies.org.au/

Emotional and Mental support

Sometimes financial problems can seem overwhelming and it is important to have support during these times. Talking to someone about your situation can help alleviate some of the stress. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to a loved one there are many people and services that could help you:

  • Doctor or healthcare professional such as a psychologist or counsellor
  • Community or charity organisation
  • Local church or spiritual leader
  • Financial counsellor
  • Legal aid officer
  • … and so on.

If you’d like to speak to someone but are not sure who to call, the Lifeline website provides a service finder for services on a range of topics including: gambling, drug and alcohol issues, psychologists, counsellors, legal aid, financial counselling, GP medical centres etc.

Click here to be redirected to this tool.

You may require some additional emotional and psychological support during these times.

Mental Health

You can speak to your GP about getting a referral to speak to a psychologist, counsellor or psychiatrist. However, there are also other services available.

Lifeline provides confidential counselling and crisis support, including suicide. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 (available 24 hours a day) or go to www.lifeline.org.au/Get-Help

beyondblue provides help with depression or anxiety. Call 1300 22 4636 (available 24 hours) or click here. Webchat is available from 4pm-10pm.

beyondblue also has a national listing of health practitioners for the treatment of depression and anxiety available here.

Gambling Support

See the problem gambling website at www.problemgambling.gov.au or call the National Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 (available 24 hours a day).