SAFCA is the professional association for Financial Counsellors in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

We support the Financial Counselling and Low Income Support sectors in South Australia and the Northern Territory. The sector employs directly and indirectly over 500 individuals. These workers provide a much needed and valued service to all South Australians and Territorians.

Financial counsellors assist some 35,000 - 40,000 financially vulnerable South Australians and Northern Territorians and their families every year. This includes those on benefits and pensions, low income and people with high levels of debt.

SAFCA provides the professional development needed by financial counsellors to keep up with the latest developments in such areas as banking, utilities and debt collection practices around hardship and collections.

We also advocate directly to government and industry on behalf of the clients of financial counsellors.

Note: You can visit our What is a Financial Counsellor? page if you don't understand what financial counselling is.

SAFCA Annual Reports

How does SAFCA work with financial counsellors?

We work with financial counsellors in a number of ways. As the peak body representing financial counsellors, we advocate for the continued funding and expansion of the sector to meet community need. We are also the primary support and development body focused on professionalizing and resourcing the sector.

We do this is a number of ways, including:

  • Providing professional development training;
  • Advocating for vulnerable South Australian and Northern Territory consumers who are experiencing financial difficulty;
  • Collaborating with other agencies to put forward a common view on matters affecting financially vulnerable South Australians and Territorians;
  • Representing the sector to industry and government;
  • Assisting financial counsellors to meet the ongoing requirements which allow agencies who employ them to hold an ASIC Licence Exemption;
  • Coordinating and delivering an annual statewide conference focusing on issues relevant to FCs and their clients;
  • Supporting the financial counselling sector through its casework, advocacy and law reform, to  adopt and maintain best practice.


How do we work with industry and government?

SAFCA works with government (both state and federal), the banking, utilities, debt collection and other industries, and with many other sectors and organisations that impact upon those who do it tougher than most.

We meet regularly with industry and government to communicate issues of concern for financial counsellors and their clients.

Through our relationship with other state bodies and the national peak, Financial Counselling Australia we are often able to resolve issues and reach consensus on how hardship provisions and communication with the sector should occur.


How did SAFCA originate?

In 1970 the Para Districts Counselling Service began operating a Financial Counselling Service in the Elizabeth and surrounding districts.

By 1990 some fifteen outreach services offered by non-government financial counselling sector had been established, funded by both the State and Commonwealth Governments.

That year a Working party drew up constitution to form SAFCA, and the first accredited training course was implemented. Adelaide Central Mission was the course provider, and 26 trainees from Government and non-Government attended the first course.

Issues of the day back in 1990 were encyclopaedia sellers, time-share schemes, and door to door sales.

In 1991, the basic Financial Counselling Course extended from 10 to 12 days plus extra time in agencies.

That year, Vin Glenn SAFCA President was quoted in Sunday Mail "We see clients who have encountered temporary hardship through ill health, loss of job or family breakdown. Our experience indicates that the obligations will be repaid in full if extended terms are granted."

Unemployment was at 11.5% The figure for national credit debt (not including mortgages) wad $42 billion $5,700 for every wage earner

In 1994 AFCCRA (FCA)  released the National Accreditation Policy

That year a meeting of Consumer Affairs, Legal groups, SAFCA and Financial Counsellors was held to discuss the need for Consumer Credit Legal Service. A Working Party was formed.

Para Districts Counselling Services closed after its funding for general counselling from the Department of Health was cut.And poker machines were introduced into SA.

Since its inception the SAFCA has grown to include over 100 financial counsellors focused on different areas of consumer protection and financial counselling practice.

SAFCA provides professional development and accreditation for its members in South Australia. In 2017 SAFCA assumed responsibility for the provision of accreditation of Northern Territory financial counsellors.


Please note

We work to support financial counsellors and develop stakeholder relationships to create systemic change. SAFCA does not employ financial counsellors to provide financial counselling or advice.  We are unable to answer financial questions, nor do we provide direct advocacy for individuals.

To locate a financial counsellor near you please go to Find a Financial Counsellor

Or if you would like to speak to a financial counsellor on the phone, please ring the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007


Suite 7 Wellington Centre, 2 Portrush Rd.
Payneham SA 5070