Treasury initiates review post RC

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has announced an immediate review into how financial counselling services are funded and co-ordinated.

Financial counselling services are provided by the Department of Social Services with a commitment that totals $64 million over 4.5 years.

However, the services lean on short-term grant based funding streams, fragmented delivery and high demand.

Commissioner Kenneth Hayne did not make a specific recommendation on them in his final Royal Commission report on Monday.

"The desirability of predictable and stable funding for the legal assistance sector and financial counselling services is clear and how this may best be delivered is worthy of careful consideration," he wrote.

The review, announced yesterday, will look at look at gaps and overlaps in current services. It will also probe the adequacy of models to deliver them for future funding, Treasury said in a statement.

Department of Families and Social Services will lead the review, in consultation with Treasury and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

"The review is also set to benefit drought-affected communities, with senior representatives from the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) having recently attended a Drought Finance Taskforce meeting and shared observations about client experiences as well as the RFCS' relationships with banks," Treasury said.

Financial Counselling Australia chief executive Fiona Guthrie said [in a statement issued by Treasury]: "FCA and financial counsellors are delighted that the Government recognises the immediate need for predictable and stable funding of financial counselling."

"We welcome the review into the capacity of existing services to meet growing demand, as well as the adequacy and source of future funding,' she said.

"We look forward to working with the Government on this review."

Read more: Josh FrydenbergKenneth HayneFinancial Counselling AustraliaFiona GuthrieRoyal CommissionRural Financial Counselling Service
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