Are you a farmer, fisher or forester seeking financial counselling?
Rural Financial Counselling Service Program
The Rural Financial Counselling Service Program transferred to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry under Machinery of Government changes on 1 July 2023.
Please follow this link to view updated RFCS information on the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website.
The Rural Financial Counselling Service Program has been in operation since 1986 and provides free and independent financial counselling to eligible farmers, fishers, foresters and small related enterprises who are experiencing, or at risk of, financial hardship.
The Rural Financial Counselling Service Program aims to:
- transition clients out of financial crisis;
- improve clients’ business profitability or facilitate a dignified exit; and
- improve clients’ financial well-being and resilience.
The outcome of the program is that clients who engage with the service become financially self-reliant and their businesses are better prepared to deal with risk.
General Financial Counselling Services
If you need general financial counselling services, information on how Commonwealth service providers can help you can be found here.
Commonwealth Financial Counselling services are delivered by community and local government organisations to help people in personal financial difficulty to address their financial problems, manage debt and make informed choices about their money in the future.
These services are voluntary, free and confidential, and can be accessed through:
- face-to-face meetings;
- the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 (calls from public phones/mobile phones may be timed and charged at a higher rate); or
- by visiting ndh.org.au.
Small Business Support is also available
Financial Counselling Services following natural disasters.
Following natural disasters, there is a range of recovery assistance that can be made available to assist small businesses impacted by a disaster event. The Australian Government supports the states with the costs of providing relief and recovery assistance to communities through the jointly-funded Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).
Since July 2022, the Australian Government has committed to cost-share over $642.207 million through the DRFA to support disaster-affected small businesses and non-profit organisations. This is a Commonwealth contribution of over $321.103 million.
Standard DRFA assistance measures include personal and financial counselling, as well as concessional interest rate loans and interest rate subsidies for small businesses. Under the DRFA, these measures can be made available by the state immediately following a disaster. State Premiers are also able to write to the Prime Minister and request extraordinary recovery assistance (for example, recovery and reinstatement grants).
Other Australian Government support is also available for small businesses impacted by natural disasters, including the Small Business Debt Helpline and the NewAccess for Small Business Owners Service.
Other Australian Government support includes:
- The Small Business Debt Helpline, delivered by Financial Counselling Australia provides specialised and independent financial counselling to small businesses experiencing financial distress
- The NewAccess for Small Business Owners (NASBO) program, delivered by Beyond Blue, provides small business owners with mental health coaching to help them manage the pressures associated with running a business.
You can also search for your local Financial Counselling and Financial Capability Services through the DSS Service Directory.
Regional Small Business Support Program
The Regional Small Business Support Program Pilot (the Pilot) concluded on 30 June 2023.