If your finances have been impacted by COVID-19 and you are experiencing financial difficulty it is important to get help as early as possible.
Each person’s circumstances are different, and the choices you make today may have long-term implications for your financial future.
Free, confidential support and advice is available:
- National Debt Helpline. Call 1800 007 007 (open Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4:30pm)
- Anglicare Tasmania Financial Counselling offers a free statewide service
- Rural Business Tasmania's Rural Financial Counselling Service helps clients gain a better understanding of their financial position and identify financial and business risk and opportunities. Call 1300 883 276 (open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm)
- Rural Business Tasmania’s Small Business Support Program helps eligible small business improve their financial position and capabilities whilst assisting business owners build future resilience into their current operations. Call 1300 883 276 (open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm)
- Financial Rights Legal Centre
- Gamblers Help offers a free, confidential service for you or your family. Call 1800 858 858 (open 24/7)
- Financial Information Service free information on financial matters. Call 132 300 (open Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm)
- Enterprise Centres Tasmania a state-wide network of independent business advisors. For more information call 1800 440 026, visit Business Tasmania website or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Make a budget
Making a budget will help you understand where your money is being spent. It will also be helpful for when you speak with a financial counsellor, your bank or lender, or when you need to apply for financial assistance.
The Moneysmart website has an online budget planner to help you get started.
What support is available?
The Tasmanian Government is supporting households and individuals through:
- Fees and charges relief, including school levies, electricity and water bills, and rent relief for social housing
- Support for vulnerable Tasmanians through the Community Support Fund
- Supporting business and industries
- Increased support for loans for essential goods and services through the No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS)
- Changes to residential tenancies including suspension of evictions, immediate halt to any increases in rent, and ability to reduce rent by mutual agreement
- Discounts and concessions remain in place for a range of services including, electricity, taxes and vehicles. You may not have needed them in the past, but they may be of help now.
The Australian Government is providing financial assistance including:
- additional income support payments including JobSeeker Payments, the Coronavirus Supplement and Economic Support Payments
- early access to superannuation
- a range of support for businesses.
For full details and guidance on how to apply for assistance:
- go to the Australian Government's Coronavirus (COVID-19) website
- Watch a video on how to claim a Centrelink payment
- Information in Languages other than English
- Call the Centrelink Indigenous Call Centre on 1800 136 380
Tasmanian Local Councils have a range of support measures in place, or being implemented, to assist individuals and businesses in financial difficulty due to COVID-19. Councils may also have additional measures available. Visit your council’s website for information and contacts. You can find a link to all councils’ websites on the Local Government Association of Tasmania website.
Tasmanian service providers (water, electricity, gas) have a number of ways that you can keep on top of your bills, including automatic debit and weekly, fortnightly or monthly payment plans. They also have financial hardship policies. If you are having financial difficulties, call your service provider and talk through what is best for you in your circumstance. Having a plan in place will help you manage your bills now and reduce the likelihood of a growing bill that makes you anxious.
Banking and loan lenders are lowering home loan rates or allowing payments to be deferred. To understand how this will impact your loan repayments in the long term, speak to your bank or lender. If you fall behind on your repayments, contact the bank as early as possible and ask if it is possible to reduce repayments for a period of time.
Insurance and claims during COVID-19
For information about claims and insurance you should speak with your insurance company first.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has written to insurance companies advising them of ASIC's expectation about general insurers' responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the Insurance Council of Australia website for general information about how insurance companies are responding.