Get help with money

Box of receipts

If you feel 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. 

Charities and emergency help

Fruit and vegetablesCharities can provide emergency help if you can't pay your rent, mortgage or food.Emergency relief is available from over 700 community organisations across Australia. They can provide:

  • Food, transport or chemist vouchers
  • Help with rent or accommodation
  • Part-payment of electricity, gas or water bills
  • Food parcels or clothing
  • Help with budgeting or referrals to other programs

Here is how to find your nearest emergency relief service:

  • Contact the Department of Social Services on 1300 653 227 and ask to be put through to your local emergency relief service (local call cost only).
  • See the directories on the Salvation Army website or call their national number on 13 72 58, or see the St Vincent de Paul website or call their Canberra office on (02) 6282 2722.  
  • Contact your local church, community centre or community organisation and find out where emergency relief is provided in your area.

If you have a super account, you may be able to get early access to the money in the account on compassionate or severe hardship grounds. Contact your super fund to see if it can be paid and if any restrictions apply. This is usually not as quick as getting help from community organisations. For more information see getting superannuation.

For Centrelink customers who are having personal or family difficulties, you can use the Department of Human Service's's counselling services through its social worker network. Contact their Indigenous Call Centre on 13 63 89.

Help with debts

If you're finding it hard to pay your debts, don't panic. Contact the company you owe money to as soon as you can.

You may have overdue bills to your bank, building society or credit union or gas, water or electicity company. Ring them up and ask to speak to the hardship officer. Explain the problem and try to work out a repayment plan. See apply for a hardship variation for more information.

If they are unhelpful you have the right to make a complaint

Low and no interest rate loans

The No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS®) offers loans without interest or fees to people on low incomes. The loans can be used for essential household goods or medical goods or services.

NILS providers are based in community centres and other local organisations. To be eligible for NILS, 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 Youth and Family Services website to find your nearest NILS provider or phone 03 9495 9600.

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 our Indigenous Help Line on 1300 365 957 or email us at

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. A debt collector 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 Help Line 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

If you would like help with budgeting or if you're having trouble managing your debts you can see a financial counsellor for free. For more information see financial counselling.

Financial Capability workers

If you live in Queensland, the Northern Territory or Western Australia, visit your local Financial Capability worker (you might know them as Money Management workers). To find out where they are, visit the Money Management Information Services webpage on the Department of Social Services website.

Department of Human Services

The Department of Human Services' Financial Information Service also 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 Service's information for Indigenous Australians or call the Department of Human Services Indigenous Australians call centre on 1800 136 380.

Video: Top money tips from Financial capability workers

Video of Financial capability workers' top money tips

What can Indigenous people do to sort out their money? Financial capability workers give you their top tips.

Transcript: Top money tips from Financial capability workers

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:

Help with housing

State and Territory Government Departments provide emergency temporary accommodation in low-cost hotels, motels, caravan parks and similar accommodation, for people who are homeless or experiencing a housing crisis.

State Organisation Contact details


Aboriginal Housing Service Tasmania

1800 800 588


Queensland Government

13 QGOV (13 74 68)

New South Wales

New South Wales Aboriginal Housing Office

1800 727 555

Northern Territory


Aboriginal Hostel Limited

02 6212 2001

South Australia


Government of South Australia

131 299



Aboriginal Housing Victoria

(03) 9403 2100

Western Australia


Government of WA Department of Housing

1800 306 877

Government assistance and concessions

Some people receive payments from the Government to help them pay for their home, food or bills or help them find a job. The Department of Human Services has lots of information about all the different payments and concessions. 

Fair trading contacts

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

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 Hotline 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: 13 Jul 2016