$5.2 million for free financial help if you live here

·Personal Finance Editor
·2-min read
A couple looking through papers and at a computer screen with Australian currency to represent people getting financial help.
Aussies who live in flood-affected areas will be able to access free financial help. (Source: Getty)

The Federal Government has announced an additional $5.2 million for financial counselling support for those affected by floods in NSW and Queensland.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the boost in funding was aimed at helping individuals rebuild financially.

“The financial and material loss associated with the floods significantly impacts a person’s ability to pay bills and manage debt,” Rishworth said.

“This additional funding will ensure providers are able to deliver much-needed help to vulnerable individuals and families in flood-affected communities.”

The funding will increase support services provided by financial counsellors, including navigation of financial assistance, such as insurance claims, grant applications, mortgage and loan moratoriums, and claims for hardship for outstanding debts.

Rishworth said financial counsellors played a vital role helping Australians in financial difficulty by providing free, independent, and confidential advice on ways to manage debts and make informed choices about their money.

“Financial counselling providers are a real lifeline for people, particularly following the impact of natural disasters and, as the new Minister for Social Services, I am committed to helping those who need it most,” Rishworth said.

This is the first allocation of extra funding for financial counselling in flood-impacted areas and is in addition to the $44 million provided per year for Commonwealth financial counselling programs to support individuals nationally.

SES funding boost

This also comes after NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced a $132 million funding boost for the State Emergency Service (SES).

Perrottet said the multi-million-dollar investment would include two incident-control centres to help the SES respond to disasters.

“We want to ensure that the State Emergency Service has the equipment they need to keep people safe,” Perrottet said.

“It's obviously been a very difficult time for the communities in the Northern Rivers and, as I have said and as our government has committed, we will be here every step of the way.”

Perrottet said the money would help ensure the state was better prepared to deal with natural disasters in the future.

“We know events will occur in the future, but we can't make the mistakes of the past,” he said.

“I will ensure our government is there every step of the way into the future to make sure that our communities are more resilient when the next natural disaster occurs.”

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