Tuesday, 21 November 2023
The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) today said the insurance sector’s participation in a $30 million co-funding agreement with other financial services sectors would address under-met demand for financial counsellors.
The three-year Industry Funding Model for Financial Counsellors will see an estimated 9,000 additional Australians access face-to-face financial counselling and enable the National Debt Helpline to handle an extra 17,000 calls a year.
The funding model is in response to recommendations made by Louise Sylvan AM in her review of financial counselling in 2019, following the Hayne Royal Commission in 2017.
The recommendation for greater industry support of financial counselling was made in response to long waiting lists for financial counselling which meant that some Australians who wanted the service were being turned away.
The independent body tasked with decisions regarding funding allocations and prioritisation will be funded by the Australian Government and coordinated through Financial Counselling Australia and will be established in early 2024.
Comment attributable to Andrew Hall, CEO Insurance Council of Australia:
The insurance industry is committed to supporting financial counselling, and has been actively involved in discussions with other financial services and the Government on the development of an industry co-funding model since 2020.
Financial counsellors play a vital role in supporting people who are experiencing financial hardship, and a sustainable funding model helps to ensure they can continue to provide their important service.