The Nationals Member for Northern Victoria Region Gaelle Broad has called for increased funding for
financial services amid soaring demand from the community.
Ms Broad said a statewide increase of 47 per cent in calls to the debt helpline in the first half of the
year highlighted the devastating impact of the cost of living crisis in Victoria.
A team from Financial Counselling Victoria recently met with The Nationals state MPs to discuss their
service which supports people suffering significant financial distress.
Qualified counsellors provide free, non-judgmental advice to people struggling with debt. They
advocate on behalf of their clients to banks and mortgage brokers and connect people with other
The organisation recently wrote to the Premier seeking funds to increase staff over the next three
years and provide a pathway for more graduates to flow into the system.
Ms Broad said many people were reaching out to these services for the very first time.
“Recently I visited Moira FoodShare in Cobram with the local member Tim McCurdy. They now
provide food to 3500 people every month, and the demand is increasing.
“When I visited Bendigo FoodShare earlier this year, they were also experiencing a growing demand
for services. Many people must now choose between paying for housing, bills or groceries.”
Ms Broad also highlighted the work of Bendigo Family and Financial Services – a community service
that helps people experiencing economic disadvantage to become financially literate.
“They now have wait lists of between six to eight weeks at their centres in Bendigo, Cobram and
Shepparton. Other centres in regional Victoria have had to close their books and turn people away.
“Tracie Driscoll at the Bendigo centre told me that people are struggling with mortgages, basic living
costs, purchasing schoolbooks and uniforms and keeping their cars on the road.
“Tracie has worked at the service for 15 years but has never seen this level of demand for support.”
Ms Broad urged the Government to respond to the request from Financial Counselling Victoria and
provide increased support and funding for these vital services.
Photo caption: Gaelle Broad MP visited Bendigo Family and Financial Services.
Media Contact: Linda Barrow 0484 303 764 email@example.com