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Keep up to date with news that informs your practice and expands awareness of your client's rights.

Thursday 31 May 2018

EO's report - May 2018

By: Sandy Ross

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Executive Officer contributes a message to the sector. This month, Sandy Ross provides an insight into future professional development opportunities for Victorian financial counsellors.

Wednesday 30 May 2018

Interview with Cathy Clark, Uniting Lentara

In each issue of the Devil's Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members.

This month, Cathy Clark discusses her switch from corporate career to financial counselling, and shares her experience as an FCRC Board member.

Thursday 17 May 2018

Financial counselling & AOD treatment – a holistic approach

By: Garry Rothman

Senior Financial Counsellor at Odyssey House, Garry Rothman, shares details of his experience working with AOD clients, and underlines the need for more financial counsellors in this space.

Thursday 26 Apr 2018

Chair's Report - April 2018

By: Julie Barrow

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Chairperson contributes a message to the sector. This month, Julie Barrow discusses the recent developments within the financial counselling, and broader finance, sectors.

Thursday 26 Apr 2018

Disposal of Assets Case

By: Denny Meadows

A community lawyer at Social Security Rights Victoria (SSRV), working with a financial counsellor at South East Community Links, recently argued a successful case at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a client whose pension payments had been reduced as a result of a disposal of an asset which the Department of Human Services had determined was "gifted" to the client's daughter.

The lawyer, Denny Meadows, has shared the details of the successful case.

Friday 20 Apr 2018

Interview with David Lodge, Bethany Warrnambool

In each issue of the Devil's Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members.

This month, David Lodge talks about the unique aspects of working in a large regional catchment area, and making grown-ups cry!

Wednesday 28 Mar 2018

EO's report - March 2018

By: Sandy Ross

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Executive Officer contributes a message to the sector. This month, Sandy Ross discusses FCRC's current focus on the need to increase awareness of the sector while also developing relationships funding bodies.

Wednesday 28 Mar 2018

Interview with Cindy Dickman, Mortgage Wellbeing Service

In each issue of the Devil's Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members.

This month, Cindy Dickman describes the unique nature of her role in the Mortgage Wellbeing Service, and shares the experiences that led her into financial counselling.

Monday 26 Mar 2018

Survey on agency practices for managing demand

By: James Degenhardt

Earlier this year, FCRC conducted a survey of the Agency Managers network to assess levels of demand for financial counselling programs, and determine the demand management practices currently in place.

Tuesday 27 Feb 2018

Early Release of Superannuation - Joint Submission

On 8 December 2017 the Government announced that Treasury will conduct a review of the rules governing the early release of superannuation benefits, including for victims of crime compensation.

A joint submission – led by Financial Counselling Australia with the support of all states and territories, Choice and Consumer Action Law Centre – has been made in response to the consultation.

NOTE: Member-only content. For assistance, contact admin@fcrc.org.au.

Tuesday 27 Feb 2018

Chair's Report - February 2018

By: Julie Barrow

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Chairperson contributes a message to the sector. This month, Julie Barrow reports on the sector's busy start to the year, and the prospects ahead.

Monday 26 Feb 2018

Interview with Lynda Horn, Victorian AIDS Council

In each issue of the Devil's Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members.

This month, Lynda Horn describes identifying the need for a financial counselling service through the David Williams Funds and the increasing achievements that have been possible as a result of funding.

Tuesday 23 Jan 2018

Interview with Brian Kerr, National Debt Helpline

In each issue of the Devil's Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members.

This month, financial counsellor from the National Debt Helpline, Brian Kerr, opens up about his accomplishments prior to financial counselling, as well as the diversity of clients that the NDH assists on a daily basis.

Monday 22 Jan 2018

EO's report - January 2018

By: Sandy Ross

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Executive Officer contributes a message to the sector. This month, Sandy Ross shares FCRC's role in coordinating with funding bodies to ensure a coherent operation of the sector.

Monday 18 Dec 2017

Chair's report - December 2017

By: Julie Barrow

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Chairperson contributes a message to the sector. This month, Julie Barrow reflects on the year that was, and looks ahead to the opportunities that 2018 presents to Victorian financial counsellors.

Monday 18 Dec 2017

Interview with Katie Hauptmann, Incolink

In each issue of the Devil's Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members.

This month, Katie Hauptmann shares the unique aspects of her role as a Financial Rights Worker at Incolink, and the value the organisation is able to provide to the commercial construction industry.

Monday 27 Nov 2017

EO's report - November 2017

By: Sandy Ross

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Executive Officer contributes a message to the sector. This month, Sandy Ross shares the details of upcoming Family Violence training that will equip all financial counsellors with a vital skillset.

Wednesday 22 Nov 2017

Interview with Rachna Bowman, South East Community Links

In each issue of the Devil's Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members.

This month, we interviewed this year's recipient of the Virginia Noonan Award: Rachna Bowman. Rachna shares her experiences working in one of Victoria's most culturally diverse communities, as well as giving some reliable advice.

Thursday 09 Nov 2017

FCRC 2017 Conference highlights

Our conferences are getting bigger and better every year - here's how 2017 shaped up:
• 78% of FCRC members attended
• Over 35 guest speakers presented
• 30 partner organisations exhibited
• 1580 coffees were served over two days
• Approximately 120 massages were given!

For anyone who missed out, or for those who wish to relive the experience, read through our highlights and view the photo gallery from this year's event.

Thursday 26 Oct 2017

Interview with Susan Orchard, Connect Health Bentleigh

In each issue of the Devil's Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members.

At this year's FCRC conference, Susan Orchard was presented with the Rising Star award for the contributions she's made to the financial counselling sector in only a few short years. She is this month's Interview with an Advocate.

Wednesday 25 Oct 2017

Chair's report - October 2017

By: Julie Barrow

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Chairperson contributes a message to the sector. This month, Julie Barrow shares some of the highlights of the recent FCRC conference.

Friday 29 Sep 2017

EO's Report - September 2017

By: Sandy Ross

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Executive Officer contributes a message to the sector. This month, FCRC welcomes Sandy Ross as he settles into his new role of Executive Officer.

Thursday 28 Sep 2017

Telcos respond to Rank the Telco report

In April this year, FCRC released its first report on the financial hardship practices of the telcommunications industry, based on survey responses from over 130 Victorian financial counsellors.

Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have each responded to the findings of the report, and we are pleased to share them.

NOTE: Member-only content. For assistance, contact admin@fcrc.org.au.

Tuesday 26 Sep 2017

Interview with Leonie Cooke, Anglicare Bairnsdale

In each issue of the Devil's Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members.

This month, Leonie Cooke gives an insight into what keeps her motivated while working as a financial counsellor in a regional area.

Thursday 31 Aug 2017

Chair's report - August 2017

By: Julie Barrow

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Chairperson contributes a message to the sector. This month, Julie Barrow announces FCRC's next Executive Officer will be Simon Smith, who will commence his role in September.

Thursday 24 Aug 2017

Interview with David Balcombe, Uniting Lentara

In each issue of the Devil's Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members.

This month, David Balcombe shares the details of his transition from his corporate career to that of a financial counsellor.

Monday 31 Jul 2017

Bankruptcy Advice: Untrustworthy Advisors

The Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) has developed a video for consumers about the importance of obtaining bankruptcy and debt management advice from reputable sources. The video, entitled Bankruptcy Advice: Untrustworthy Advisors, is narrated by Money Magazine editor Effie Zahos. The video explains in simple terms how easy it is for consumers to be tricked into taking untrustworthy advice from unregulated, unlicensed advisers who may target vulnerable people in times of financial crisis and pressure.

Continue via the link below to watch the video.

Monday 24 Jul 2017

Multi-cultural scholarship program

By: Bernadette Pasco

FCRC is proud to announce a unique opportunity!

ICAN Learn in partnership with CBA is providing scholarships for students from ethnic / multicultural, non-English speaking backgrounds to undertake the Financial literacy skill set (CHCSS00077) and the diploma of financial counselling (CHC51115) as one course.

Monday 24 Jul 2017

Diploma of Financial Counselling

By: Bernadette Pasco

ICAN Learn, a new social enterprise Registered Training Organisation, is excited to be able to offer the Diploma of Financial Counselling to Victorian students interested in becoming financial counsellors.

FCRC have partnered with ICAN Learn to commence delivery of the diploma in Victoria, starting from September this year.

Monday 24 Jul 2017

EO's report - July 2017

By: Peter Gartlan

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Executive Officer contributes a message to the sector. This month, Peter Gartlan shares the exciting work of ICAN Learn in delivering the Diploma of Financial Counselling in Victoria later this year.

Monday 24 Jul 2017

Interview with Robyn Angus, La Trobe University Student Union

In each issue of the Devil's Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members.

This month, Robyn Angus gives insight into some of the unique aspects of working as a financial counsellor within a university.

Wednesday 05 Jul 2017

New role: Project Worker - Family Violence

By: Donna Letchford

FCRC welcomes Donna Letchford into her new role as Project Worker - Family Violence within the organisation. Donna will aim to provide support to family violence financial counsellors through development of support mechanisms, specialised training and supervision, and best practice frameworks.

Wednesday 05 Jul 2017

FCRC's response to ASIC class orders consultation

Read FCRC's submission to the recent consultation on ASIC's financial counselling licensing relief class orders.

Friday 23 Jun 2017

Chair's Report - June 2017

By: Julie Barrow

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Chairperson contributes a message to the sector. This month, Julie Barrow reflects on the contributions of FCRC Executive Officer, Peter Gartlan. Peter will conclude his time at FCRC in September.

Thursday 22 Jun 2017

Interview with Carlos Poveda Rayo, Anglicare Werribee

In each issue of the Devil's Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members. This month, financial counsellor Carlos Poveda Rayo shares how he ended up in financial counselling and why he won't return to the corporate world.

Friday 16 Jun 2017

FCRC & CALC Submission to the Essential Services Commission

In response to the ESC's new draft decision for its Payment Difficulties Framework, FCRC and Consumer Action Law Centre have submitted their comments to the Commission.

Recognising many of the new measures the ESC has proposed in the revised framework, we are positive the ESC can achieve its objective of ensuring customers are disconnected as a last resort. We also make recommendations to ensure the framework can do more to support and protect vulnerable customers.

Monday 29 May 2017

EO's Report - May 2017

By: Peter Gartlan

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Executive Officer contributes a message to the sector. This month, Peter Gartlan discusses state government funding of financial counselling, as well as announcing his resignation for the role of Executive Officer.

Sunday 28 May 2017

Interview with Leanne Clarke, Orbost Health

In each issue of the Devil's Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members. This month we interview Leanne Clarke, a financial counsellor working in the small Gippsland town of Orbost.

Thursday 25 May 2017

FCA 2017 Conference highlights

By: James Degenhardt

​The FCA Conference, held on the Gold Coast from 14-17 May, brought together nearly 600 delegates from the financial counselling and community sectors, government, industry and ombudsman schemes. The conference theme, "Making Waves," rippled throughout the event as presenters shared the ways in which they have been making meaningful impacts in their areas of work.

Wednesday 24 May 2017

Toll Road Operator Infringements

By: Tom McIntosh

Last financial year, Victoria’s toll road operators referred 1.2 million unpaid tolls to Victoria Police for infringement notices to be issued to Victorians. FCRC and Money Magazine are calling on Transurban to change their out-dated and unfair toll enforcement system.

Friday 28 Apr 2017

Chair's report - April 2017

By: Julie Barrow

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Chairperson contributes a message to the sector. This month, Julie Barrow discusses the findings of the Rank the Telco report and congratulates the sector on their involvement.

Thursday 27 Apr 2017

Rank the Telco report launch

"Rare in its directness," FCRC launches their first report examining the hardship practices of Australian telcos.

FCRC launched its first report to examine the hardship policies and practices of Australian telcos on Thursday 27 April in Melbourne, which was attended by representatives from both the financial counselling and telecommunications sectors.

Peter Gartlan, FCRC Executive Officer, acknowledged the involvement of the Victorian financial counsellors in responding to the survey. Overall, 534 comments were submitted, including 66 recommendations for improvements. The survey results were conclusive that the current performance in the telecommunications sector is less than acceptable. All three of the first-tier providers ranked poorly, and none met the basic performance benchmarks set in other industries.

Thursday 27 Apr 2017

Interview with Carly Baker, Wimmera UnitingCare

In each issue of the Devil's Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members. This month, financial counsellor Carly Baker recounts how she grew to love her work and explains the value of networking.

Tuesday 28 Mar 2017

Fair Finance National Day of Action

By: Tom McIntosh

On 27 March, FCRC and Victorian FCs joined members of other consumer advocacy groups for a "day of action" in Canberra, where the group lobbied for the speedy introduction of the recommendations from the SACC Review.

Friday 24 Mar 2017

EO's report - March 2017

By: Peter Gartlan

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Executive Officer contributes a message to the sector. This month, Peter Gartlan announces the upcoming launch of the 'Rank the Telco' report to be released in April.

Monday 20 Mar 2017

Interview with Colin Hart, Salvation Army Melbourne

In each issue of the Devil's Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members. This month we interview financial counsellor and FCRC board member, Colin Harte, as he recounts his unexpected entry into the financial counselling sector.

Thursday 23 Feb 2017

Chair's report - February 2017

By: Julie Barrow

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Chairperson contributes a message to the sector. This month, Julie Barrow shares the positive results from last year's financial counselling assistance to those experiencing family violence.

Thursday 23 Feb 2017

Interview with Eleanor Mason, Salvation Army Geelong

In each issue of the Devil's Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members. This month we interview Eleanor Mason, as she shares her passion for the sector and tells us why she thinks financial counsellors "rule the world!"

Tuesday 21 Feb 2017

Concerns with Centrelink’s Private Debt Collectors’ Accountability

By: Srikaran Nadador

Since the introduction of the government’s new automated debt recovery system in July 2016, there has been severe public backlash against the inaccurate system of data-matching which has affected over 170 000 people to date.

Financial Counsellors may be interested to know that Centrelink has enlisted private debt collectors, including Dun & Bradstreet and Recoveries Corp, to recover the alleged overpayments.

Wednesday 08 Feb 2017

Afterpay: what you need to know

By: James Degenhardt

In an age of convenience, where getting credit can be easier than getting paid, consumers need to pay close attention to what they can afford and how they spend their money. A relatively new “buy now, pay later” facility has emerged that is enticing young shoppers to get the things they want now, and pay for it over time. Sound too good to be true? Read more to see whether there is an aftermath from Afterpay.

Tuesday 07 Feb 2017

Mis-selling of Debt Agreements

Financial counsellors and consumer lawyers are reporting cases where debt agreement administrators are signing consumers to debt agreements who have have limited income and no seizable assets. In these cases it is clear and unambiguous that this type of miss-selling should be banned. Read our case studies here.

Tuesday 07 Feb 2017

New VCOSS/RMIT research project - Energy Under-Use

By: Tom McIntosh

VCOSS is conducting research on energy under-consumption and the use of trade-off strategies (e.g. cutting back on food) in order to afford energy bills. These household strategies can adversely affect health, wellbeing and quality of life. We are hoping you can help us identify people who are interested in participating in this research and sharing their experiences. NOTE: Member-only content. For assistance, contact admin@fcrc.org.au.

Tuesday 24 Jan 2017

EO's report - January 2017

By: Peter Gartlan

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Executive Officer contributes a message to the sector. This month, Peter Gartlan discusses the growth of the financial counselling sector, and FCRC's role in its continuation.

Thursday 12 Jan 2017

Centrelink automated notices

By: Tom McIntosh

FCRC has issued some advice for members on how they can assist clients who have received an auto-debt recovery notice from Centrelink. NOTE: Member-only content. For assistance, contact admin@fcrc.org.au.

Monday 19 Dec 2016

Interview with Briar Hall from EnergyAustralia

EnergyAustralia was the major sponsor of the 2016 Victorian Financial Counsellors Conference. We recently caught up with Briar Hall who leads the Customer Vulnerability & Recovery team at EnergyAustralia to find out more about how the organisation is getting involved with financial counsellors, and what support they offer customers experiencing hardship.

Monday 19 Dec 2016

Debt vultures are preying on our clients

By: Kai Zauner-De Ville

Paid financial services can have a detrimental impact on those who are seeking a financial lifeline. Financial counsellor, Kai Zauner-De Ville, calls for regulations for debt vultures that prey on the financially vulnerable.

Monday 19 Dec 2016

Chair's report - Christmas 2016

By: Julie Barrow

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Chairperson contributes a message to the sector. This month, Julie Barrow reflects on the year that was, and looks ahead to the opportunities that 2017 presents to Victorian financial counsellors.

Thursday 24 Nov 2016

Submission to the Essential Services Commission

Read our joint submission on the proposed safety net for energy consumers facing payment difficulty.

Monday 21 Nov 2016

What are the hardship practices of the telcos?

The Ranking Survey is back. This time FCRC would like you to rank the hardship practices of telecommunications retailers, through Rank the Telco.

Monday 24 Oct 2016

La Trobe Student Union joins the National Financial Literacy Strategy

Led by ASIC, the National Financial Literacy Strategy is a practical framework to guide and encourage all those with a role to play in improving financial literacy for Australians. La Trobe University Student Union (LTSU) is pleased to have become accepted as Supporter in the formal Education Sector. FCRC member and Financial Counsellor at LTSU, Robyn Angus, is keen to support the initiative which she says "will help our work and network".