Financial Counselling Service NSW – Illawarra Shoalhaven Region

About Us

Our NSW Fair Trading funded financial counselling service program offers free, personalised, independent and confidential face to face support to people in financial difficulty within the Illawarra Shoalhaven region. Our Financial Counsellors help people navigate tough times by providing guidance and support on their financial position, as well as helping them to identify their goals and develop and implement a plan. This includes:

  • Assist you in assessing your current financial situation
  • Supporting you to negotiate with your landlord, utilities, telecommunicators, and other creditors
  • Assisting you to implement selected options about what to do if you’re struggling to pay bills and fines
  • Provide ongoing support and refer you to other services you might need, such as legal, accommodation, health and crisis services
  • Support you with insolvency options
  • Assisting you if you’re being harassed by debt collectors
About Us

Need help to get through a difficult time? We can help.

For all financial counselling enquiries for Wollongong, Shoalhaven, Shellharbour and Kiama, please email:

How We Can Help

We support people experiencing financial difficulty in the Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and Shoalhaven local government areas. We can support you to improve your financial situation by:

  • Presenting you with a clear explanation of your financial situation and the options available to you.
  • Providing budgeting advice and assistance to develop budgets and debt repayment plans.
  • Assisting you to implement selected options.
  • Providing you with strategies and assistance to negotiate with creditors.
  • Advocating and negotiating on your behalf with creditors.
  • Providing you with information on credit laws, debt recovery processes, bankruptcy and other areas.
  • Providing you with information on entitlements and forms of government assistance.
  • Making referrals to other services or legal services

Our financial counsellors are here to support you in finding financial stability and security. They will listen to your concerns and work with you to develop practical solutions to help you achieve your goals.

How We Can Help

Our Approach

FCS NSW believes in a holistic approach to financial counselling. Our Client Philosophy informs our service delivery model and reflects our belief that to be financially self-sufficient there needs to be alignment between the finances, the individual, the family and the support network. This philosophy reflects our belief that planning is key to success. The four business success pillars are:

  • the finances
  • the individual
  • the family and
  • the support network

In each of the pillars we look at the client’s circumstances, what it means to be successful, and how we can help to achieve that success through building competencies and developing good network relationships.

How We Can Help


What is financial counselling?

Financial counselling is a service provided by a financial counsellor who is a community worker that acts without a conflict of interest, as a negotiator and an advocate on behalf of people experiencing financial hardship or who are unable to manage their debts. Financial Counselling services are funded by state and federal governments and donations.

Financial Counsellors are skilled professionals, bound by a Code of Ethical Practice to deliver the best outcomes for their clients.

Financial Counselling Services are free, confidential and non-conflicted.

What can Financial Counsellors support me with?
  • A full assessment of their financial situation, including regular income and expenditure, assets and liabilities
  • Advise and assist with problems related to debt and debt enforcement
  • Advocate and negotiate with banks and other lenders
  • Assist with concessions, grant eligibility and referrals for material aid
  • Assist with lodging complaints to external dispute resolution services
  • Refer to other community, health and legal services
  • Consumer rights information
  • Change and improvement information and options
  • Credit laws, debt recovery process, bankruptcy and other options

Financial counsellors can also provide information about:

  • credit and debt related matters
  • the rights and obligations of creditors
  • how the debt collection and debt enforcement process works
  • the pros and cons of bankruptcy and other insolvency options
  • how to access other specialist support services, including gambling, family support, personal counselling, legal aid and emergency relief
What can’t Financial Counsellors do?
  • charge any set up fees and/or ongoing fees for their service
  • receive any payments or commissions from third parties for their services
  • lend money
  • complete tax returns
  • provide debt consolidation services
  • provide investment advice 
How does financial counselling work?

When you see a financial counsellor, they will firstly listen carefully to your personal story to understand the specific financial challenges you are facing, in the short and long term.

The counsellor will then work with you to gain a clearer picture of your financial situation and provide you with different options and strategies, discussing the pros and cons of each. You can use this information to make your own choices about how to best resolve your financial problems.

The counsellor’s goal is to help you deal with your short-term financial situation as well as minimise the risk of future financial problems. Counselling sessions are safe and always confidential.

Who can access this service?

Anyone who is unable to pay a bill or at risk of not being able to pay a bill.

Are there any costs for these services?

Our service is free and independent and is provided within a safe and confidential environment.

Do I need to come to the office? And do I need to book an appointment?

Your Financial Counsellor will call you to discuss your situation and will advise if a face to face appointment is necessary.

What do I need to bring to my appointment?

Your Financial Counsellor will call you to discuss your situation, and will advise you of the paperwork required prior to your appointment.

How long is the appointment?

An appointment is generally 1 to 1.5 hours.

Does FCS NSW provide ongoing support?

Depending on your needs, multiple sessions may be required.

How will my information be used?

We respect your privacy. We do not sell, rent or trade any personal information to or with any third parties. We may disclose your personal information (not financial) to external service providers in the circumstances discussed in our privacy policy.

Helpful resources and support


Moneysmart offers financial guidance for all Australians, with simple tools, tips and calculators.

Visit website

Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue provides mental health support and services to all people in Australia.

Call 1300 22 4636

Visit website

Way Forward

Way Forward provides free debt advice and free financial support.

Call 1300 045 502

Visit website

Good Shepherd

Good Shepherd provides no-interest loans, counselling and a Financial Independence Hub to help build confidence, capability and independence.

Call 1300 050 150

Visit website

The Rural Financial Counselling Service Program is funded by the Australian Government and the New South Wales Government and is administered by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry