Ask Area 2:

Sustainability of the Financial Counselling Sector

The financial counselling sector should be adequately funded to provide support to people who are financially vulnerable and there should be better monitoring of demand, supply and 
outcomes to support and evidence-based decision making across the sector.

2.1 Maintain existing funding and resourcing for financial counselling at current levels as a minimum in real terms for the coming four years. This should be in addition to industry funding resulting from the Sylvan Report and provide continuity into the next government.


Variations in funding certainty has a significant influence on a provider’s ability to maintain a stable, experienced and trained workforce. When funding is cut, financial counsellors leave to secure alternate work; when funding is reinstated, providers struggle to rebuild the workforce, especially when continuity cannot be assured. Funding for financial counselling services is primarily provided by the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments, with some funding from philanthropic organisations. Ongoing government funding, (generally provided through grants), is essential for the continued delivery of


SAFCA asks that funding from the South Australian Government remain at current levels as a minimum for the coming four years to allow financial counsellors to continue meeting current demand, in addition to any industry funding resulting from The Countervailing Power Report by Louise Sylvan (2019). 

2.1 Publish quarterly reports, and an annual report, on the state of the financial counselling sector using de-identified data provided to the Department of Human Services by state-funded financial counselling services


The availability and provision of data that analyses SA financial counselling services is critical to demonstrate the use and effectiveness of financial counselling as an early intervention tool that prevents people from falling into poverty; driving evidence-based decision making and assisting with future sector planning.

SAFCA asks that the State Government produce regular and annual reports and that these be made available to SAFCA and the financial counselling sector. The reports should provide analyses of state-funded financial services based on data provided to the 
Department of Human Services by DHS funded financial counselling services. It is hoped that this de-identified data can be easily extracted from the R2D2 system.

2.3 Create a matrix for measuring and capturing the unmet need for financial counselling


Data relating to the unmet need for financial counselling is currently not measured or captured. This data is essential in understanding the demand for financial counselling and making evidence-based decisions when planning for the sustainability of the sector. 


SAFCA asks that the State Government convene a meeting of key stakeholders including SAFCA, agency managers and government department personnel to create a matrix for measuring the unmet need for financial counselling and create for a process to capture this data in a way that can be included in quarterly and annual reports produced by the Department of Human Services.

“Early intervention is key. Having accurate data would help us make informed decisions and proactively plan to support farmers and rural businesses before they are affected by natural disasters and soften the economic flow on effect felt by regional communities.”
SAFCA Member

“The number of people needing financial counselling has increased due to COVID-19, yet we’ve had to reduce our workforce by five due  to changes in funding. As a result, people are waiting longer to see us while their financial crises become more acute. One client who’d been threatened with eviction when they contacted us, was facing homelessness by the time we were able to see them. If we’d been able to see them earlier, we could have helped them avoid this.“
SAFCA Member


15-17 Glynburn Road
Glynde SA 5070