Update on the Federal Budget and the Sylvan Review

Written on the 12 May 2021 by Fiona Guthrie

We were hoping Tuesday's Federal Budget would include an announcement that the government would introduce legislation for an industry-funded model- as recommended in the 2019 Sylvan Review. Unfortunately, this was not to be.

However, the Minister for Families and Social Services, Anne Ruston, tells us she remains committed to the process. She has written to us explaining that while "there is clearly broad support for an industry-funding model for financial counselling, key feedback from many sectors is that further work is required around data and evidence to inform the proposed model."

It's disappointing and frustrating, and just for a moment, you feel like finding the closest brick wall and knocking your head against it.

But as a sector, after picking ourselves up and salving the bruises, we need to press on. The really important thing now is not to lose momentum.

We've been asked to provide more data and evidence, and we will.

We'll sit down with the stakeholders and work out what they need. And then we'll get it.

We'll be in touch with everyone as soon as we can about what this might mean. There's also an agency manager's meeting at the FCA conference next week, so this will be a great place to start.

Finally, it is worth reminding ourselves of the bigger picture. An industry-funding model, along the lines that Louise Sylvan recommended, would be a game changer. The whole idea is to increase funding to adequate levels, making it more predictable and stable and therefore increasing access to financial counselling for people who need it. We will get there.

Fiona Guthrie

Financial Counselling Australia

Author:Fiona Guthrie


15-17 Glynburn Road
Glynde SA 5070