Financial Wellbeing and Capability

The Australian Government is changing the Financial Wellbeing and Capability (FWC) Activity to ensure services align with the Government’s policy priorities, are appropriately targeted to vulnerable people, and are based on a firm legislative footing.

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Review of the coordination and funding of financial counselling services across Australia

On 1 February 2019, the Commissioner the Honourable Kenneth Madison Hayne AC QC submitted his final report to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry (the Royal Commission) to the Governor General. The Treasurer, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP released the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission on 4 February 2019.

The Australian Government is taking action on all 76 recommendations outlined in the Royal Commission’s Final Report. In addition, the Australian Government has committed to additional actions to improve the financial outcomes of Australians. This includes undertaking an immediate review of the coordination and funding of financial counselling services that disadvantaged Australians rely on.

For more information - on the Review of the coordination and funding of financial counselling services across Australia.

What is Financial Wellbeing and Capability?

The Australian Government, in partnership with community organisations, provides support to vulnerable individuals and families experiencing financial crises. People can acquire budgeting and financial literacy skills to help navigate through debt and learn strategies to better manage their money and become financially independent through the Financial Wellbeing and Capability Activity.

The activity builds financial resilience and wellbeing for vulnerable people and those most at risk of financial and social exclusion and disadvantage.

Services included under the activity provide crisis support, broad financial capability building services, financial counselling and access to microfinance products. Services are free, voluntary and confidential and are generally delivered by community organisations.

The activity consists:

  • Financial Crisis and Material Aid
  • Financial Counselling, Capability and Resilience.

Financial Crisis and Material Aid includes the provision of emergency relief and food relief.

  • Emergency Relief – provides immediate financial and/or material support to people in financial crisis.
  • Food Relief – increases emergency relief organisations’ access to a cost-effective supply of food items which is provided to people in need across Australia.

If you need food parcels, clothing, household items, vouchers (for example supermarket), or assistance with part-payment of utility account/s, budgeting, and/or referrals to other services that help to address financial crisis then find your nearest emergency relief service provider which may be able to assist.

Financial Counselling, Capability and Resilience provides financial counselling, financial literacy education, and access to financial services including microfinance products such as low or no interest loans.

  • Commonwealth Financial Counselling helps people in financial difficulty to address their financial problems and make informed choices.
  • Financial Capability services aim to help people build longer-term capability to budget and manage their money better and make informed choices.
  • Financial Resilience offers a variety of financial services and products targeted at financially vulnerable people that helps build self-reliance and provide access to financial products.

If you need assistance with debt management, a financial counsellor can help you work through your financial issues, advocate on your behalf, provide options on any debts you may have or link you to other community services that may be able to help.

Talk with a financial counsellor or find a financial counsellor near you by phoning the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007* or visit

*Calls from public phones/mobile phones may be timed and charged at a higher rate.

You can also find a financial counselling service through ASIC's Money Smart Financial Counselling page.

Financial Wellbeing and Capability Program Grants

Department of Social Services funding rounds for the Financial Wellbeing and Capability Program Grants are now closed. Organisations to be offered funding from 1 January 2019 are listed on the Applicants Offered Funding page.

Individual feedback for this grant opportunity may be requested within 30 days of receiving an outcome notification. Feedback will be provided within 30 days of receiving the request.

For all enquiries regarding funding and grants, you can contact the Department at or on 1800 625 136.

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