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New Lifeline report exposes big funding gaps for financial counselling in Queensland

Lifeline Community Care Queensland has released a report that exposes Queensland as the only state or territory in Australia whose government provides no funding for generalist financial counselling services.

The report entitled A Perspective: Lifeline’s experience of financial counselling in Queensland, highlights astonishing funding gaps and calls on state government and the corporate sector to financially support the community sector to help those experiencing financial distress.

Lifeline Community Care Queensland’s Financial Counselling Practice Leader Jillian Fletcher said other states were recognising the value (NSW $4 million, VIC $5.3 million, WA $4.5 million).

“We’re urging the Queensland Government to provide comparable funding to help ordinary Queenslanders and calling on the corporate sector to show leadership in the area of corporate social responsibility,” she said.

According to Queensland Council of Social Services, 10% of Queenslanders live in poverty and up to another 20% are at risk of significant financial hardship.

This means that 1.2 million or one in three Queenslanders could benefit from independent, free, professional financial counselling services.

Ms Fletcher said Lifeline financial counsellors worked in the best interests of their clients and their income was not derived from those clients making certain financial decisions.

“It’s a tailored service based on the needs of the individual. We look at our client’s finances in the context of their broader personal and family situation.

“A commitment of $4 million per year from the state government would give Queenslanders an opportunity to access financial information, strategies and options suitable to their particular needs underpinned by the values of social justice and compassion,” she said.