The Financial Counsellors Association of Queensland has today called on all political parties to commit to funding a dedicated financial counselling program in Queensland.
Queensland is the only State or Territory in Australia that does not fund a financial counselling program.
Financial counsellors, who work in community organisations, help people in financial difficulty.
“There are simply not enough financial counsellors in Queensland”, said Mark Phillips the Chair of FCAQ. “This means that thousands of Queenslanders in financial difficulty do not get the help they need to get back on track.”
“Investing in financial counselling is smart spending by the Government as it save costs elsewhere. People in financial difficulty are under enormous stress and this can lead to physical and mental health issues, homelessness or relationship breakdown. When this happens the community often picks up the costs.”
A 2014 cost-benefit analysis of financial counselling by Adelaide University showed that every $1 invested resulted in $5 of benefits.
“Queensland has the highest level of bankruptcies per capita in Australia. At least part of the reason for this is that people in financial difficulty do not have adequate access to independent financial counselling advice”, said Mr Phillips. “We may be proud of our sunshine, but we should not be proud of our bankruptcy levels.”
“The need for financial counselling services should be one that is above politics. In the same way that we need adequate funding for health and education, we also need adequate funding for financial counselling.”