Debt helpline support extended for struggling small businesses

Campbell Phillips

17TH JANUARY, 2022


Last week the Federal Government announced a doubling of funding for free mental health support to small business owners, along with an additional $2.1m to extend the Small Business Debt Helpline.

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to disrupt business-as-usual in Australia for a third year running, the Morrison Government has announced more funding for critical small business support.

Announced last week, $4.6 million is to be provided to Beyond Blue in order to boost its mental health program, NewAccess for Small Business Owners while $2.1 million will allow Financial Counselling Australia to continue to offer its Small Business Debt Helpline into 2022.

“We recognise Australian small businesses are doing it tough right now,” said Acting Minister for Small and Family Business Anne Ruston. “…whether that is because of having to self-isolate, workforce disruption, rapid changes to business models or the impacts of the natural disaster season – if you are doing it tough help is there for you.”

Debt helpline to offer timely financial advice

Launched in 2020 in the wake of the devastating Australian bushfire season, the Small Business Debt Helpline kicked off with a $3.5 million investment from the government, initially dubbed the Small Business Bushfire Financial Counselling Support Line.

The free service for small business owners in financial difficulty offers independent and highly valuable advice for those who need it, offering help on topics including bankruptcy, negotiating payment plans, debt waivers, grant applications and insolvency.

“I commend the Australian Government for supporting small business with this vital funding announcement,” said the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson.

“Small business owners have endured so much over the past two years, pummelled by the pandemic and natural disasters.

“The road to recovery has been lengthy and challenging and that has understandably taken a toll on the bottom line and wellbeing,” said Billson.

If you’re an Australian small business operator in need of advice, you can contact the Small Business Debt Helpline by calling 1800 413 828.

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