An article about how to deal with unmanageable debts

Author: Will Dwyer, Credit and Debt Solicitor at Redfern Legal Centre

Redfern Legal Centre regularly encounters people who feel overwhelmed by their debts or other legal issues. Many tend to try and ignore these demands for payment as they feel unable to do anything about them. Unfortunately these legal and financial issues tend not to go away, but rather become more serious as time goes on. This sense of powerlessness and feeling that something bad will happen continues to cause stress, which in turn impacts on people’s wellbeing.

I recommend that people take control by seeking help. Most financial or legal problems are not the end of the world, even if it’s drastic as bankruptcy. There are many other alternatives to paying a whole debt up front, and a broad scope for financial counsellors and community lawyers to negotiate fair payment terms or other alternatives.

The people we assist at Redfern Legal Centre exhibit a real sense of release once they get help to manage their financial and legal affairs and find out about the broad range of options available for them. They’re able to get their life back on track one step at a time.

Click here for more information about free help for unmanageable debts.

  • Community Legal Centres provide free legal assistance. They often have eligibility criteria (e.g., you might have to live in their area). Find Community Legal Centres in NSW at:
  • Financial counselling is a free service offered by community organisations, community legal centres and some government agencies. Financial counsellors can help you solve your money problems. Find a financial counsellor at:
  • Credit and Debt Hotline is a telephone financial counselling service for free help managing your money and debt : 1800 007 007
  • Good Shepherd Microfinance is a non-profit organisation that offers no interest and low interest loans for people on low incomes loans. They also offer other people-centred financial programs. Find out more at:
  • Hardship Programs – most banks and telephone and utility services have a hardship program to help people who owe them debts and are going through hardship. They’re free to access and are helpful especially when you’re going through a rough patch (e.g., managing a mortgage or juggling household bills). Ask the service directly for more information about their hardship program.
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