Pro Bono Program: Free legal, financial planning, workplace and small business assistance

Pro Bono Program

Legal referral service | Financial planning referral service | Workplace referral serviceSmall business referral service | Accessing these services  | Cancer Council Pro Bono Press | Professional Volunteers & Legal Internships

A cancer diagnosis may mean a loss of income, on top of many out of pocket costs that may not be covered by insurance. Cancer Council’s Pro Bono Program helps people affected by cancer access free legal, financial, small business accounting and workplace assistance, where they would be otherwise unable to do so due to cost, illness or other barriers.  

Cancer Council does not provide advice directly. We connect people affected by cancer with a volunteer professional in the community who will provide advice and assistance. Usually, people will meet professionals at their office, however, assistance may be provided via phone and email where needed.

If you speak a language other than English, we can arrange a telephone interpreter for you.

For Financial Assistance, please visit this page.

Legal referral service

Lawyers involved in the Cancer Council Pro Bono Program may be able to assist with:

  • Wills, powers of attorney and enduring guardianship
  • Superannuation and insurance disputes
  • Employment law and discrimination
  • Credit and debt matters
  • Centrelink disputes
  • Tenancy law

Financial planning referral service

Financial planners involved in the Cancer Council Pro Bono Program may be able to assist you with:

  • Accessing superannuation and insurance
  • Advice in relation to debt management
  • Eligibility and accessing Centrelink payments
  • Transitioning to retirement and managing lump sum payments.

Workplace referral service

HR professionals provide advice to people affected by cancer on employment issues and rights before, during and after treatment.

For people affected by cancer who are employed, HR professionals can provide information and advice on the following:

  • Disclosure of a cancer diagnosis and confidentiality obligations
  • Flexible working arrangements entitlements
  • Leave and payment of salary during sickness leave
  • Managing expectations of employers and colleagues
  • Discrimination at work.

For people who would like to return to work following a cancer diagnosis or caring for a person affected by cancer, HR professionals can provide advice on the following:

  • Strategies when looking for work, including obligations to tell a new employer about past cancer
  • How to explain the gap in a CV due to your treatment when applying for a job
  • Preparing and reviewing a CV and interview techniques.

Small business referral service 

Small business accountants can provide advice and assistance to small business owners on how to manage their business during treatment. They may be able to assist with:

  • Bookkeeping, BAS lodgement and management of business debts
  • Managing disruption to business during treatment
  • Strategies to improve business performance
  • Preparing a business for sale/winding up.

Accessing these services

To find out more about these services, please call:

  • Our Information and Support line: 13 11 20 (Monday to Friday: 9am – 5pm)
  • Our Translator service: 13 14 50

You can also speak to a social worker at your treatment centre and they can refer you.

Do I have to pay for these services?

Advice is provided by volunteer professionals and is free for people who cannot afford to pay for it. Cancer Council will ask a series of financial questions to determine whether you are eligible for free assistance.

If you don’t qualify for free assistance, we can put you in touch with a professional who can assist on a paid basis.

Online Resources:

Legal and financial issues booklets and fact sheets: Downloadable pdfs with information around common legal, financial and workplace issues for people affected by cancer

Cancer Council Pro Bono Press 

Read our e-newsletter, Pro Bono Press, to learn more about our services as well as current issues impacting people affected by cancer. You can also read about our recent highlights and hear from professional service providers, health professionals, and other volunteers involved in our program.

Professional Volunteers & Legal Internships

Professional volunteers: If you are a lawyer, financial planner, accountant or HR/recruitment professional interested in volunteering to assist people affected by cancer through our Pro Bono Program, please contact us via the form below.

Legal volunteer roles: If you are a law student in your penultimate year (or above) or you are looking to gain skills while giving back to the community, the Cancer Council Pro Bono Program offers volunteer roles. Volunteers generally work 1-2 days per week and get hands-on experience in the delivery of legal, financial and workplace services to people affected by cancer.