Public Interest Law Careers Guide - Financial Counselling Australia

Field of Law

Consumer Rights

Stage of Career

Undergraduates; Graduates

Contact details

Address: 1st Floor, Ross House,247-251 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Vic 3000
Phone: 03 9663 2000
Visit the Financial Counselling Australia website
Contact person:  Lauren Levin

Description of Organisation

FCA's role is to support the financial counselling profession, providing a voice in national debates on areas that predominantly impact on low-income consumers in financial hardship. FCA works with regulators and ombudsmen for fairer processes and outcomes. FCA also works with financial institutions, utility companies, telcos and debt collectors to implement respectful processes for assisting consumers in hardship.

FCA is a federated body and its members are each State and Territory financial counselling associations in Australia.

Financial Counselling Australia is a member of the Consumers' Federation of Australia.

Number of positions within organisation

3 in the national office, up to 5 at state level. Not necessarily lawyers, but either law or financial counselling are good backgrounds.

Information for university students/graduates

FCA is a small organisation with limited funding, so peak body roles don't come up regularly. However, some financial counsellors have come from a law background, and then do the Diploma in Community Services (Financial Counselling) at Victoria University. They are employed by community sector agencies as a financial counsellor - their role is 1/3rd counselling, 1/3 paralegal and 1/3 financial. This is different from the peak body advocacy/policy work. 

For more information on how to become a financial counsellor, visit the Become a Financial Counsellor page on the Financial Counselling Australia website

Qualifications/skills required

Diploma in Financial counselling (post grad) to be a financial counsellor. Law is a good qualification to be a consumer advocate.

What electives/areas of study are viewed favourably?

Consumer law, policy, communications - good writing and research skills are probably the most important attribute.

What sort of volunteer/work experience opportunities are available?

No formal program, but may take one long-term volunteer a year, to work one day a week on an ad hoc basis. This person needs to be efficient, committed and capable of working independently

Contact person for volunteers:

Lauren Levin

Advice for applicants

Volunteer work can give you good skills and experience. Do what you enjoy, and be flexible. Small organisations need staff that can adapt to any challenge.

Additional comments

Small organisations don't have the resources to manage volunteers, so potential volunteers need to be resourceful and work quite independently.

 Castan Centre logo    Progressive Law Network logo

Victoria Law Foundation Grants logo