11.1.2 Financial Wellbeing Support Services Supporting Welfare Payments Reform


The Australian Government values the role of charities and not-for-profit organisations in our society and we are committed to empowering organisations to deliver services that respond to the needs of their community.

Through the Financial Wellbeing and Capability (FWC) Activity, the Government provides support to individuals, families, and communities to improve their ability to manage their financial affairs, and meet immediate needs in times of crisis. People can acquire budgeting and financial literacy skills to help navigate through debt and learn strategies to better manage their money and become financially independent.

The Government invests around $100 million a year in emergency relief, financial counselling, financial capability, and microfinance services. These services are aimed at alleviating financial crisis, addressing financial stress and hardship, and increasing financial literacy across Australia with the intent of improving life outcomes. FWC services help thousands of people across Australia each year and are free, voluntary, and confidential.

Funding is allocated to ensure support is provided to the most vulnerable Australians, in areas where there is greatest need.

Services under the Financial Wellbeing and Capability activity are outlined below. Further information about all Financial Wellbeing and Capability services is available on the Financial Wellbeing and Capability page on the DSS website.

Emergency Relief

Emergency Relief services are delivered by community organisations and help people address immediate basic needs in times of financial crisis.

Emergency Relief can act as a safety net for people experiencing financial distress or hardship, and who have limited means or resources to help them alleviate their financial crisis. Access to Emergency Relief is free, however, individual service providers may have certain criteria that need to be met in order to access their particular Emergency Relief service.

Commonwealth Financial Counselling & Financial Capability

Commonwealth Financial Counselling and Financial Capability (CFC/FC) services are delivered by community and local government organisations to help people in personal financial difficulty address their financial issues, manage debt and make informed choices about their money in the future.

Services are voluntary, free, and confidential and can be accessed through:

  • face-to-face meetings, or
  • the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 (calls from public phones or mobile phones may be timed and charged at a higher rate), or
  • the National Debt Helpline website.

Financial Resilience/Microfinance

Financial Resilience/Microfinance provides financially vulnerable people with access to safe and affordable financial products including no interest loans, low interest loans, microenterprise development loans, and matched savings that are not available through mainstream providers of financial services. These products are offered as an alternative to other high risk, high interest products such as payday loans.

The products are provided in conjunction with financial literacy education to improve financial capacity and lead to greater self-reliance, assisting people to build assets, develop savings and commence on the pathway to financial inclusion.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Microenterprise Development

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Microenterprise Development supports those on a low income to increase their business-planning and workforce skills; develop sustainable microenterprises (where appropriate); and create opportunities for employment, including self-employment.

Last reviewed: 14 August 2017