Get help with money

Find out who can help

If you need help with your money, there are people you can go to. If you're having trouble with debts or bills, try and get help as soon as possible.

Video: Sorting out your money problems

Animated video about getting help with money

Lisa seeks help from a financial counsellor to get on top of her bills.

Get debt help

If you're finding it hard to pay your debts and need some help, don't panic. Contact the company you owe money to as soon as you can and ask to speak to their 'hardship officer'. They can look at your situation and work out a new repayment plan. Find out how to apply for a hardship variation on our trouble with debt page.

If the company is unhelpful you should make a complaint.

Low and no interest rate loans

The No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS®) offers loans with no interest or fees to people on low incomes. The loans can be used for essential household goods or medical goods or services, up to the value of $1,500.

NILS providers are based in community centres and other local organisations. To be eligible you must have a Centrelink health care or pension card (or qualify for one) and show that you can repay the loan within 12 or 18 months. For more information see no or low-interest loans.

Visit the Good Shepherd Microfinance website to find your nearest NILS provider or phone 13 64 57.

MoneySmart does not lend money

ASIC's MoneySmart website does not lend money or arrange loans but is happy to answer questions you might have about borrowing money. You can call ASIC's Indigenous Helpline on 1300 365 957 or email us at iop@asic.gov.au.

Dealing with debt collectors

If you fall behind in your loan or credit card repayments, you might be contacted by a debt collector.

A debt collector is a person who collects debts on behalf of people you owe money to. They should only contact you when it is necessary, and they are not allowed to bully or harass you into paying your debts. If you are being harassed by a debt collector, call ASIC's Indigenous Helpline on 1300 365 957 or ASIC's Infoline on 1300 300 630.

For more information see dealing with debt collectors.

Talk to a free money expert

Financial counsellors

If you're having trouble managing your debts, you can see a financial counsellor for free. Financial counsellors can help you solve your money problems. For more information see financial counselling.

Financial Capability workers

Financial capability workers can help you set up a budget and learn how to manage your money better. They can also help you if you are in a housing crisis. To find the one nearest to you visit the Department of Social Services' Grants Service Directory. When you use the directory, choose 'Commonwealth Financial Counselling and Financial Capability' for the service type.

Financial Information Service (FIS) officers

The Department of Human Services' Financial Information Service provides free, independent and expert financial information over the telephone and in person. Centrelink can also give you information about whether you are entitled to rent assistance, crisis payments or other social security payments.

To find out more, visit the Department of Human Services' information for Indigenous Australians or call the Centrelink Indigenous Call Centre on 1800 136 380.

Help if you are in a crisis and need money fast

Charities can provide emergency help if you can't pay your rent, mortgage, food or utility bills. Emergency relief is available from many community organisations across Australia.

Here is how to find your nearest emergency relief service:

  • Department of Social Services - Search for emergency relief providers in your area using the Department of Social Services' Grants Service Directory. Choose 'Financial Crisis and Material Aid - Emergency Relief' in the 'Service Type' field.
  • Salvation Army - Check the Salvation Army website or call their national number on 13 72 58.
  • St Vincent de Paul Society - Visit the St Vincent de Paul Society's website or call their national number on 13 18 12.
  • Churches and community organisations - Contact your local church, community centre or organisation and find out where emergency relief is provided in your area.

If you're a Centrelink customer who is having personal or family difficulties, you can use the Department of Human Service's counselling services through its social worker network. Contact their Indigenous Call Centre on 1800 136 380.

Get help with housing

State and territory government departments provide emergency temporary accommodation in low-cost hotels, motels and caravan parks for people who are homeless or experiencing a housing crisis.

Government assistance

Some people receive payments from the Government to help them pay for their home, food or bills or help them find a job.

Find out if you're eligible for any payments or concessions by visiting the Department of Human Services website.

Help with refunds and warranties

State and territory fair trading offices can help you with information about refunds and warranties, complaints about door-to-door sales, funerals and other consumer issues. Here are their contact details:

Help with legal issues

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services can help with your legal issues, including credit and debt issues, and they can help you with your will. For your closest legal centre contact:

Do not ignore legal notices

If you receive a letter from a lawyer or notice that you're being taken to court (such as a summons, statement of claim or liquidated claim), get legal advice immediately. Do not ignore the notice.

If you're struggling with your money, don't be afraid to ask for help. There are people you can go to who can help get your money back on track. For more information call ASIC's Indigenous Helpline on 1300 365 957.


Related links

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain images and voices of deceased people.


Last updated: 10 Sep 2018