Keeping communities connected

Essential services such as housing, electricity, water and telecommunications have huge implications on the health and wellbeing of our community. Now more than ever, it’s important people remain connected to these essential services.

Community organisations and service providers are calling on companies and governments to commit the following COVID-19 relief measures (see here).

We want to hear about how Covid-19 has affected your financial wellbeing. Do you have three minutes to fill in this short form?

If you’re experiencing financial hardship, contact your provider to request a hardship arrangements. If you’re having trouble negotiating an arrangement with your provider, contact the relevant ombudsman for support.

UTILITIES

By law, energy and water companies are required to offer help. Contact your electricity, gas, or provider to request hardship assistance. Your retailer might give you more time to pay your bills or work out a plan to pay in instalments over time.

If you have trouble getting assistance from your energy retailer, contact the Energy and Water Ombudsman (EWOV) on 1800 500 509 (131 450 for languages other than English).

BANKS

If you’re dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are practical ways your bank can help. Assistance might include:

  • deferring loan payments,
  • waiving fees and charges,
  • helping with debt consolidation,
  • waiving penalties for early withdrawal of a term deposit or
  • deferring upcoming credit card payments and increasing emergency limits

See here for a full list of banks who are members of the Australian Banking Association: https://www.ausbanking.org.au/campaigns/financial-hardship.

If your request for financial assistance is denied by your bank or financial services provider or you feel you weren’t treated fairly, you can contact AFCA on 1800 931 678 (free call) to make a complaint.

The National Debt Helpline is a free, independent and confidential financial counselling service, which provides advice on how to manage debts and access financial support. If you’re having trouble with loan, utility, or telecommunications debt, call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007

For more information visit: https://ndh.org.au

TELECOMMUNICATION SERVICES

If you are unable to resolve your phone and internet issues with your provider, contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) on 1800 062 058.

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