Has there been any increased funding to Community Legal Centres to support victims of banking misconduct?

On 15 November 2018 the Senate Economics References Committee (Senate Committee) released its report regarding the inquiry into consumer protection in the banking, insurance and financial sector.

The report made three recommendations, including that “the Commonwealth Government consider increased funding for community legal and financial counselling services dealing with victims of financial misconduct”.

This recommendation reflects the submission made by Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) and the National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) to the Banking Royal Commission which called for increased funding to the community legal and financial counselling sectors to come from a bank levy. To read more about the proposed levy you can click here.

In response to the Senate Committee’s report, Coalition Senators commented that the Commonwealth Government has already committed increased funding for community legal and financial counselling services dealing with victims of financial misconduct.

However, NACLC and FCA are unaware of any additional funding provided to community legal centres to support victims of financial misconduct, or consumers of financial services more broadly. NACLC is currently seeking clarification from the Coalition Senators as to what funding they were referring to.

Click here to see the media explainer published by FCA and NACLC clarifying their roles, the current funding position and increased funding required to keep pace with the demand for services.

Michael Duncan