There are a range of general financial and budgeting resources which can be helpful to assist people manage their bills and cope with the cost of living.

Visit the MoneySmart website for budgeting tools, tips and advice on managing on a low income.

How to find a financial counsellor

Financial counsellors provide a free, independent and confidential service. To receive support from a qualified financial counsellor, call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007. Opening hours are 9:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday.

Financial Counselling Australia has a handy tool to find a financial counsellor in your local area.

You can also refer clients to service providers funded under the Queensland Government Financial Literacy and Resilience Program for assistance with budgeting and financial matters. The Queensland Government website has a list of financial literacy and resilience services and information on financial planning and budgets.

The Salvation Army's Moneycare service provides free and confidential financial counselling.

Commonwealth Financial Counselling provide services delivered by community and local government organisations to help people in personal financial difficulty to address their financial problems, manage the debt and make informed choices about their money in the future.

Need a loan?

If you need to borrow money to purchase an essential item, such as whitegoods, furniture or electrical goods, pay a bill, or for medical expenses there are several options.

No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS)

Good Shepherd Microfinance provides No Interest Loans of up to $1,500 to help people on low incomes cover the cost of essential goods and services, such as fridges, washing machines and medical procedures.

Centrepay

If you receive a Centrelink income, you can use Centrepay to arrange small, regular deductions from your payment to pay for your bills, for example child care, electricity and rent. You can start or stop using it whenever you like.

StepUp loan

Good Shepherd Microfinance also offers a no fee, low-interest loan up to $3,000 for people who may have trouble accessing credit from a bank.

Speckle loan

Good Shepherd Microfinance offers small loans from $200 to $2,000 with repayment options ranging from three months to one year (without the hidden costs). The repayment options are flexible so you can pay early and as often as you like with no extra fees. To be eligible, you need a minimum annual income of $30,000 (excluding government benefits) before tax to apply.

Foresters Community Finance

Foresters Community Finance provide a personal loan up to $4,000 with no interest or setup fee for any worthwhile purpose.

QuickstART loan

QuickstART by Foresters Community Finance, is a Micro-loan scheme for individual artists and small-scale cultural enterprises.

Need help saving and managing money?

Saver Plus – A matched savings product, offered by ANZ, which assists low income people to develop long term savings habits and reach their savings goals. This product is delivered through community organisations across Australia.

MoneySmart, by the Australian Government, provides free and impartial financial guidance and tools to help you manage your money. 

  • Borrowing and credit tips for loans, credit cards, other types of credit such as interest-free deals and rent to buy, and information about credit reports and credit repair.
  • Managing your money aims to get you in control of your money to help you achieve your goals.
  • Explains how scams work, how to identify different scams and what to do if you have been scammed.
  • Life events & you has tips on dealing with the ups and downs of life.
  • Teaching provides a comprehensive strategy to develop consumer and financial literacy capabilities in young Australians.

AddsUP Savings Plan is a partnership between Good Shepherd Microfinance and NAB, that encourages no income loan scheme (NILS) and StepUP clients to develop positive, long-lasting savings habits. The AddsUP Savings Plan is offered at selected NILS and StepUP providers across Australia.

Good2GoNow program is coordinated by Good Shepherd Microfinance and The Good Guys. The Good Guys Commercial team will provide you with a centralised service for all your queries, quotes, orders and payments. Once an order is confirmed it will be sent to your local The Good Guys store who will contact your client to arrange delivery with them. This program offers a national buying solution to NILS and StepUP workers, whilst still providing clients with personalised service and product delivery from their local The Good Guys store. The NILS Buying Service is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

Need help with an energy bill?

Visit the electricity and gas bill page on Community Door to find out what help is available.

Looking for advice on insurance products

MoneySmart explains what to look for in insurance products so you can find the right policy for your needs.

Essentials by AAI is a simple product which offers low-cost car and contents insurance.

Good Insurance program works with Australia’s largest insurance companies to create affordable and simple insurance policies for people on low incomes. These products enable people to insure their household belongings or cars, so they’re protected if things go wrong.

Insurance 4 That is a single-item insurance solution. It provides an alternative to traditional contents insurance by enabling people to insure individual items and nominate the insured value of these items.

Financial abuse

Financial abuse occurs when a partner, friend or family member manipulates your decision-making, or controls access to your money or other property without your consent. It can happen to anyone, no matter how old you are or how much money you have. The​ ASIC MoneySmart website has tips and helpful links.

National legislative changes to payday lending and predatory leases

Consumer leases and payday loans are often targeted at the most vulnerable members of society. Community legal centres and consumer groups frequently assist victims of this predatory behaviour, that ignores or hinders the borrower’s ability to repay the debt. There has been some progress in terms of identifying policy and legislative changes, however their passage through the Federal Parliament has stalled.  In March 2017, consumer advocates from around the country met at Parliament House to lobby for #FairFinance.  In this webinar the Consumer Credit Legal Service WA Inc provided an update on recent, and much needed, changes to the national laws around payday lending and predatory leases.

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Consumer leases and payday loans are often targeted at the most vulnerable members of society. Community legal centres and consumer groups frequently assist victims of this predatory behaviour, that ignores or hinders the borrower’s ability to repay the debt. There has been some progress in terms...
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Queensland Government media release Funding of up to $10,000 is available to community groups interested in protecting our region’s drinking water catchments, as part of the annual Water for Life community grants program. Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham said...
Did you know community based organisations can apply for funding to employ a trainee within your organisation? Funding is still available under the First Start program in 2017-18 for not-for-profit organisations to offer opportunities to young people and disadvantaged job seekers to gain nationally...
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Queensland Government media release Queenslanders can jump online and apply for rebates of up to $300 on energy efficient appliances to save on their electricity bills. Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said first rebates should be flowing back into the first applicants’ bank accounts by the end of...
If you or someone you know need a meal this Christmas here are some places providing meals around Brisbane over the Chrismas period. End of season feast, gift and hamper, Jeays St Community Centre, 12 Jeays St, Bowen Hills, 20 December 12:00pm End of year free community lunch (tel 07 3358 5600),...
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Legal Aid Queensland has published a series of captioned recordings about their services on their YouTube channel . Videos for community, health and education workers can be found here and include their published community legal education webinars. The next webinar is Child Protection - the law and...
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Queensland Government media release The Palaszczuk Government will ensure Queenslanders’ power bills are pegged to average inflation over the next two years and cut $50 a year from bills as part of a $2 billion Affordable Energy Plan to provide cost of living relief. The move will see all the...
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Queensland Government media release The Palaszczuk Government is taking action to reduce cost of living for Queensland seniors, with increased funding for energy, rates and water concessions. Speaking in Parliament today, Minister for Seniors Coralee O’Rourke said the government had increased the...
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The Women's Legal Service Queensland has developed the Penda app, a new free smartphone app to provide women who have experienced domestic and family violence with financial, legal and referral information. It has been tailored for intimate relationships but still may be relevant to other...
The PeakSmart air conditioning program is expanding to regional Queensland which means a household or small business will receive a cash reward of up to $400 if they purchase a peak smart air conditioner. Treasurer Curtis Pitt said “Regional Queenslanders will now have the option to help manage...

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The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) is Australia’s peak communications consumer organisation representing individuals, small businesses and not-for-profit groups as consumers of communications products and services. ACCAN focuses on goods and services in telecommunications...
The Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland (EWOQ) is a free, fair and independent dispute resolution service for unresolved complaints with your electricity, gas or water supplier. They are committed to providing an effective, efficient and confidential service for residential and small business...
Foresters Community Finance is an ethical lender with a mission to use money for the financially excluded. They lend up to $4,000 to individuals who cannot access finance elsewhere at reasonable rates. Foresters provide fast and affordable loans to people and organisations to help them take control...
Good Shepherd Microfinance is Australia's largest microfinance organisation. They offer a range of people-centred, affordable financial programs for people on low incomes at different financial stages of their lives. Their aim is to enable clients to realise their own economic wellbeing, as they...
Are you looking for support in Queensland, or trying to find a service that meets your needs? Now you can search oneplace , the service directory hosted by the Queensland Family and Child Commission. oneplace is an easily accessible directory of community services to help Queensland families to get...
The Financial Counsellors' Association of Queensland is the peak professional body representing the membership of 74 Financial Counsellors throughout inner city, suburban and regional Queensland. The FCAQ is also a not for profit organisation whose members provide a fee and accessible financial...
The Queensland Government has launched a website to provide information on all the concessions and rebates available to assist eligible households in Queensland with the cost of living. For more information visit the Smart Savings website. As at October 2017, the following subsidy programs and...
QCOSS has held a number of webinars on various topics related to the Cost of Living. You can watch a recording of the webinars or download a copy of the presentations. Energy literacy webinar This webinar covers everything you need to know about energy bills including how to read a bill, what the...
QCOSS has developed a number of energy factsheets which you can print to hand out to clients. The factsheets cover various topics such as energy saving tip, what to do if you can't pay an energy bill, and tips on comparing energy offers and plans. To download these factsheets, click here .
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIFW) published Australia's Welfare in October 2017. The report provides an authoritative overview of the wellbeing of Australians, examining a wide range of relevant topics. Read the report here.
The Checkout is a consumer affairs television series on ABC TV featuring segments that examine the practices and methods of manufacturers, retailers, service providers and advertisers. The show adresses all manner of consumer issues that affect your life and help you save money. Using a humorous...
Saver Plus is Australia's largest and longest running matched savings and financial education program, delivered locally by community organisations in 60 locations across Australia. The program assists individuals and families on lower incomes to develop long-term saving habits and reach a savings...
The Queensland Government's Financial Resilience program can help you improve your financial knowledge, access affordable financial products and manage the factors that are contributing to your financial difficulties. Financial resilience workers and counsellors can provide financial education and...
ASIC's MoneySmart website has a range of resources to help Australians take steps to improve their personal finances. They offer free, independent guidance to help people make the most of their money. The site includes financial calculators and tools, how to get your money organised, tips on what...
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has published a factsheet to help consumers understand the circumstances in which they will get a smart meter under new rules to expand competition in metering from December 2017. The factsheet also explains how consumers will be affected when a smart meter is...
Legal Aid have a series of captioned recordings about Legal Aid Queensland services on their YouTube channel . Videos for community, health and education workers can be found here and include their published community legal education webinars. Upcoming webinars can be found on the Information for...

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The National Energy Customer Framework (NECF), was introduced to Queensland on 1 July 2015. NECF is a set of national laws, rules and regulations governing the sale and supply of energy (electricity and reticulated natural gas) to consumers. It was developed under cooperative arrangements between...
The Customer Water and Wastewater Code outlines the protections for small customers in South East Queensland in relation to water. The Code sets the standard of service that council-owned water businesses in SEQ must offer their customers.
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There are a range of legal structures which may be suitable for Queensland not-for-profit community groups. The four main options are: an incorporated association: Associations Incorporation Act 1981 (QLD) and Associations Incorporation Regulation 1999 (QLD) a company limited by guarantee:...
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Big, bright signs promise easy credit.

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When the Logan Financial Literacy Action Group (FLAG) wanted to discover the...

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As more and more businesses impose fees and restrict access to paper bills and statements, customers are being denied their right to choose how they receive important information. The Keep Me Posted campaign is advocating for the Australian public’s right to choose how they are contacted...

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The Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) recently released a new report revealing the interrelated nature of poverty and disadvantage, highlighting key areas in Queensland which need to be addressed with better targeted programs, policies and investment.

...

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The Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) has just released a new cost of living report examining the cost of living pressures across six Queensland regional centres – Brisbane, Gold Coast, Cairns, Mount Isa, Rockhampton and Kingaroy.

The report uses the existing Cost of Living...

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Last week on 17 October 2014 the QCOSS State Conference - Building strength was held at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Brisbane.

The program aimed to build on the strengths already existing within Queensland’s strong and resilient community service sector, as well...

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Electricity prices have increased by 86 per cent over the last five years and this is having an impact on households across the state. Community organisations have reported growing numbers of clients presenting with financial stress as a direct result of an electricity bill they couldn’t...

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The NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water has published a comprehensive Sustainable Office Checklist designed to help identify resource saving opportunities...

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In light of recent severe weather events, discussions on the impact on people experiencing poverty and disadvantage and the wider sector that supports them is emerging. As a non-scientist Social Worker I will leave the debate surrounding climate change and have written this Blog on the...

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