MEMBER LOGIN

CLOSE

News News

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

Wednesday 27 Nov 2019

Researching the impact of financial difficulty assistance, bankruptcy and debt agreements: Seeking survey participants!

By: Nicola Howell

Do existing laws help consumers recover from over-indebtedness? A call for participants for the next phase of my research.

In the June 2019 edition of the Devil’s Advocate, I told readers about my research on the impacts of bankruptcy, debt agreements and financial difficulty assistance. I invited financial counsellors to help promote my study by letting relevant clients (or former clients) know about the opportunity to complete an online survey about their experiences. I am very grateful to those who were able to assist.

I am now starting a new phase of the data collection, and inviting financial counsellors, insolvency practitioners, and others who work in the sector to share their insights on the different options. Interested practitioners can complete an anonymous online survey for the study, available here: https://melbourneuni.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6RRwGzecQs8dxQx.

The debtor surveys also remain open for a few more weeks, so I am still keen to hear from you if you can help by promoting the surveys to clients and/or former clients, and/or through social media.

Please contact me for more information (including suggested text for social media or an email to clients) (nhowell@student.unimelb.edu.au or (07) 3138 2006), or follow the link for more details (link to full article).

Wednesday 27 Nov 2019

Interview with Linda Burnett, knowmore legal service

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

This month, Linda Burnett, financial counsellor for knowmore legal service, explains her unique role working with survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, as part of the National Redress Scheme. Linda also talks about the life-changing moment when she discovered financial counselling.

Wednesday 27 Nov 2019

Chair's report - November 2019

By: Colin Harte

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Chairperson contributes a message to the sector. This month, Colin Harte reflects on the "exciting times" ahead for the financial counselling sector, and welcomes the new FCRC Board elected at the AGM in October.

Monday 18 Nov 2019

FCRC submission to the Local Government Rating System Review

FCRC recently made its submission to the review of council rating systems, on behalf of Victorian financial counsellors. We received considerable feedback from our members raising concerns about how councils respond to vulnerable people in the community experiencing hardship resulting from rate charges and rate arrears. These issues are essential to address if Victoria’s rating system is to be fair and equitable for everyone in the community.

Wednesday 30 Oct 2019

Interview with Leanne Khan, SSRV

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

This month, Leanne Khan, financial counsellor with SSRV, talks about the benefits of integrated service models. She also reflects on her steep learning curve when starting financial counselling, and the synergy of community development and social justice within the role.

Wednesday 30 Oct 2019

FCRC 2019 Conference highlights

The FCRC Conference this year took place in idyllic Ballarat. The theme for our conference was "Expanding Horizons" which led to a number of robust discussions and cross-sector collaborations that shaped our program over the three-days. We've brought together the highlights of the event in this recap.

Monday 28 Oct 2019

EO's report - October 2019

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 debriefs on the outcomes of FCRC's recent AGM.

Thursday 26 Sep 2019

Chair's report - September 2019

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 a heartfelt farewell in her last contribution as Board Chair, after four years in the role.

Tuesday 24 Sep 2019

Interview with Kylie McLoughlin, Anglicare

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

This month, Kylie McLoughlin, Family Violence Financial Counsellor at Anglicare in Box Hill describes her recent experience in Canberra as part of the campaign to reform payday lending practices.

Tuesday 24 Sep 2019

An Update on the Integrated Services Project between FCRC and SSRV

By: Bryn Overend

We are very excited to announce that Social Security Rights Victoria (SSRV) have secured a second year of funding for the Integrated Services Project, a partnership project between SSRV and FCRC. This project was launched in late 2018 at the FCRC Conference. Its aim is to explore integrated service between financial counsellors and social security law experts, with a vision of improving client outcomes by bringing the work of these two sectors closer together.

Friday 30 Aug 2019

EO's report - August 2019

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 acknowledges the valuable work of the Constitution Review Committee of the FCRC Board. After a lengthy review process, a draft new constitution has now been released for further consultation with members. Sandy also reflects on the new opportunities for a stronger relationship between the financial counselling sector and State Trustees.

Thursday 29 Aug 2019

Interview with Jo Parkin, Uniting ReGen

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

This month, Jo Parkin, from Uniting ReGen, describes her years of experience working in the homelessness service sector before transitioning to financial counselling. Jo also shares the unique nature of her role and the incredible client outcomes that make it all worthwhile.

Friday 26 Jul 2019

Chair's report - July 2019

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Chairperson contributes a message to the sector. This month, Julie Barrow reflects on recent changes that can both benefit and impact the people we work with.

Wednesday 24 Jul 2019

Interview with Troy West, Anglicare

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

This month, Troy West, Team Leader at Anglicare in Bendigo, describes the twists and turns on his journey to find rewarding work as a financial counsellor.

Tuesday 25 Jun 2019

Executive Officer's message - June 2019

This month, the FCRC Board adopted its new Strategic Plan for 2019-2021, which has been the result of a consultative process with our members. The plan acknowledges the need for sector expansion, while ensuring the wellbeing of our financial counsellors.

Friday 21 Jun 2019

Elyse Hoskins, Good Shepherd

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

This month, Elyse Hoskins shares the details of her transition from a corporate career to that of a financial counsellor.

Friday 21 Jun 2019

​Researching the impact of financial difficulty assistance, bankruptcy and debt agreements

By: Nicola Howell

Nicola Howell (PhD researcher, Melbourne Law School and Senior Lecturer at QUT) is researching the impact on consumer debtors of financial difficulty assistance/hardship variations, bankruptcy and debt agreements. A better understanding of how people experience the different options, and whether they improve the lives of debtors in the short and longer term, can help us assess how well the relevant laws are working, and whether changes are needed.

Wednesday 29 May 2019

FCA Conference 2019: Highlights

By: James Degenhardt

The FCA Conference this year delivered a program of events which spanned five days, and broke attendance records with over 800 delegates registered from across the financial counselling and community sectors, government, industry and ombudsman schemes. The conference took place in Melbourne, and used the theme of "Curiosity" to deep-dive into various subjects - some topical, and others previously unexplored.

Wednesday 29 May 2019

Work and Development Permits Scheme

By: Laura Sanderson

The Work and Development Permits (WDP) Scheme allows eligible people (those suffering from homelessness, family violence, mental illness, intellectual disability, addiction or acute financial hardship) to ‘work off’ their fines instead of paying money out of their pocket.

Peninsula Community Legal Centre (PCLC) has received funding from the Legal Services Board to employ a project worker, Laura Sanderson, to support the integration of the WDP Scheme into the Southern Victoria region.

PCLC has begun working with health and community providers in the region who are interested in becoming an accredited sponsor, as well as developing a ‘toolkit’ for clients, sponsors and other community legal centres.

Laura has written a project summary to raise awareness of the WDP Scheme.

Wednesday 29 May 2019

Chair's report - May 2019

By: Julie Barrow

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Chairperson contributes a message to the sector. This month, Julie Barrow highlights some of the recent shifts by ASIC following the Banking Royal Commission, which aim to bring "fairness" to the financial services sector.

Tuesday 30 Apr 2019

EO's report - April 2019

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 work that is being undertaken by the Centrelink Working Group to address the issues around the rate of the Newstart allowance. FCRC has also been finalising the findings from its recent survey on member stress and burnout survey.

Monday 08 Apr 2019

Joint Consumer Representatives' submission to COBA Code review

The Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) has initiated an independent review of its Code of Practice, which was introduced in 2014. As part of this review, COBA invited a Joint Consumer Representatives' submission, to which FCRC contributed. Read the submission.

Wednesday 27 Mar 2019

Interview with Jennifer Holcroft, Good Shepherd

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

This month, Jennifer Holcroft, FC at Good Shepherd in St Albans, shares about her introduction to budgeting through Strepsil tins, and the privilege of working with women in prison.

Tuesday 26 Mar 2019

Chair's report - March 2019

By: Julie Barrow

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Chairperson contributes a message to the sector. This month, Julie Barrow considers some of the priorities for the sector are as we head towards a potential expansion.

Wednesday 27 Feb 2019

EO's report - February 2019

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 what an increase to sector funding would enable, as well as the challenges that come with growth and development. FCRC will also begin reviewing feedback from financial counsellors in relation to systemic issues affecting hardship practices.

Wednesday 27 Feb 2019

Interview with Anna Dooland, Diversitat

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

This month, Anna Dooland, FC at Diversitat in Geelong, describes her first encounter with a financial counsellor and her dreams of becoming a "terrifying monster"!

Tuesday 29 Jan 2019

Integrated Services Project: Social Security Rights Victoria

By: Bryn Overend (Lawyer, SSRV)

We are proud to announce that Social Security Rights Victoria Inc. (SSRV) and Financial and Consumer Rights Council Inc. (FCRC) have established a partnership to design, implement and evaluate an integrated service bringing together social security law specialists and financial counsellors. The overarching objective of this project is to enable financial counsellors and social security rights experts to work together more effectively to improve client outcomes. The project will build the capability of financial counsellors and community lawyers to identify and respond to social security law and related issues.

Sunday 27 Jan 2019

FCRC Submission to the Royal Commission into Mental Health (Terms of Reference)

FCRC welcomes the establishment by the Victorian Government of the Royal Commission into Mental Health. The Royal Commission provides an opportunity to explore how best to address the complex array of factors affecting the mental health of Victorians and improve the overall mental health of our community through identifying good practices and a support infrastructure that can implement effective prevention and treatment strategies.

FCRC submits that the Terms of Reference should pay due regard to key mental health comorbidities as part of effective holistic response to risk factors and real client/patient needs, and in particular to financial vulnerability. The experience of financial counsellors is that financial difficulties, debt and vulnerability are an important and under-estimated comorbidity which practical and feasible assistance can reduce as a contributing factor to mental health harms.

Thursday 24 Jan 2019

Interview with Jenny Paikopoulous, Uniting Kildonan

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

This month, Uniting Kildonan's Jenny Paikopoulos shares her journey to find herself working as a financial counsellor in a diverse and supportive team.

Thursday 24 Jan 2019

Chair's report - January 2019

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 importance of the recent Senate Inquiry into Credit and Financial Services in highlighting the for need for more financial counsellor positions.

Thursday 24 Jan 2019

Some excerpts from submissions to the Royal Commission and the Senate Inquiry

The new year is already well underway, but before things become too hectic, we wanted to take a moment to stop and recognise the valuable work of our FCs.

Fiona Guthrie at FCA shared with us a series of excerpts from various submissions into the recent Royal Commission and Senate Inquiry, which highlighted the strong support there is for the role of financial counselling.

The comments, from a variety of government bodies and regulators, demonstrates the value and need for the sector, and the importance of the work that financial counsellors undertake every day.

Wednesday 16 Jan 2019

Meet the Trainer: Cara Crossan

We're very excited about the current training calendar that we will be delivering over the next six months. We are proud to be able to utilise the strong knowledge-base that exists within the sector, drawing from our many skilled financial counsellors. We have also engaged a number of excellent facilitators, who are experts in their own fields, to present a number of new sessions. We plan to introduce them to you over the next few months, so that you can get a good idea of what's on offer.

Monday 17 Dec 2018

EO's report - December 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 reflects on the recent funding announcements from the Department of Social Services, and a dialogue that has now opened up between the State and Federal governments around the need for coordinated funding for the sector.

Wednesday 12 Dec 2018

Researchers release publication on the experience of financial hardship in Australia

By: Evgenia Bourova

Researchers at Melbourne Law School have published an article that provides insight into the experience of financial hardship for Australians at different levels of income.

Monday 26 Nov 2018

Interview with Sam Levey, Carlton Fitzroy Financial Counselling Service

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

This month, Sam Levey describes the feeling she had after her first debt waiver for a client, and the advice that helped her to overcome frustrations.

Wednesday 07 Nov 2018

Elder abuse prevention and financial counselling

By: Bernadette Pasco

Bernadette Pasco, Project Lead for FCRC's Elder Abuse Prevention project, has provided an update on the work that has been undertaken on the project to date, and what the next steps will be.

Wednesday 31 Oct 2018

FCRC 2018 Conference highlights

This year FCRC celebrated a milestone, marking its 40th year in financial counselling and consumer advocacy. While reflecting on the significant changes that have taken place over the years, we looked at new strategies to take forward into the future. Our conference theme was something meaningful to all financial counsellors and industry partners alike: Empowering People. It was wonderful to have so many FCs, students and industry partners in the one space, as we considered pathways to empower not only our clients in hardship, but also those who support them.

Tuesday 30 Oct 2018

Interview with Kedar Acharya, Uniting Lentara

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

This month, Kedar Acharya shares about his background as a refugee coming to Australia, what led him to financial counselling, and the valuable support he receives from the sector.

Tuesday 30 Oct 2018

Chair's report - October 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 reflects on this year's conference, and recognises the dedication of our members.

Tuesday 30 Oct 2018

Did you know you can contact the Victorian Ombudsman about many issues affecting your clients?

By: Deborah Glass, Victorian Ombudsman

Victorian Ombudsman, Deborah Glass, gave the keynote speech at this year's FCRC Conference. She is also encouraging financial counsellors to contact her office to see what they may be able to do to assist vulnerable clients.

Thursday 27 Sep 2018

EO's report - September 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 update on FCRC's funding agreements, which have seen some significant new developments in the past few months.

Tuesday 25 Sep 2018

Sandra Blake's week in Canberra

By: Sandra Blake

Financial Counsellor in Wodonga, Sandra Blake, recently spent a week in Canberra volunteering in Cathy McGowan's office, and meeting with MPs to raise her concerns about payday loan practices. Sandra shared her experiences below.

FCRC would like to acknowledge and thank Sandra for her committment to the legislation of the SACC bill to address the issues of payday lending and consumer leases.

Thursday 23 Aug 2018

FCRC welcomes new Campaigns & Advocacy Manager

FCRC has appointed Rene Ploegmakers to the position of Campaigns and Advocacy Manager (0.5 EFT).

Rene started with FCRC on 15 August, and shared about his approach to the new role.

Read Rene's comments here.

Thursday 23 Aug 2018

Chair's update - August 2018

By: Julie Barrow

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Chairperson contributes an update to the sector. This month, Julie Barrow describes the FCRC Board's recent luncheon and governance forum.

Wednesday 22 Aug 2018

Interview with Tahlia Brown, Mallee Family Care

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

This month, Tahlia Brown shares details of her remarkable education and career journey that led her to become a financial counsellor in a regional area.

Wednesday 25 Jul 2018

Researchers complete major study on financial hardship in Australia

By: Evgenia Bourova, Melbourne Law School

In June 2018, researchers at Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne completed a multi-year research project on financial hardship in Australia.

Wednesday 25 Jul 2018

Interview with Lisa Hansen, Casey North CISS

In each issue of the Devil's Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members. This month we interview Lisa Hansen, from Casey North CISS, who shares about her passion for financial literacy, and the direct impacts she can make as a financial counsellor.

Wednesday 25 Jul 2018

EO's report - July 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 update on FCRC's funding agreement with Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV). Sandy also addresses the ways in which FCRC will examine issues of stress and demanding caseloads for financial counsellors.

Thursday 28 Jun 2018

Chair's update - June 2018

By: Julie Barrow

In alternating issues of the Devil's Advocate, the FCRC Chairperson contributes an update to the sector. This month, Julie Barrow travelled to Canberra to accompany other consumer advocates in lobbying politicians for responsible lending reforms.

Thursday 28 Jun 2018

Interview with David Newport, Upper Murray Family Care

In each issue of the Devil's Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members. This month we interview David Newport, financial counsellor for Upper Murray Family Care, who talks about the power that financial counselling has to transform lives.

Monday 25 Jun 2018

Responsible Lending Roadshow - Canberra

By: Eleanor Mason

Financial Counsellor for Salvation Army Geelong, Eleanor Mason, was one of 32 delegates from across Australia that converged on Canberra this month to meet with the decision-makers and lobby for fair finance and responsible lending reforms. Eleanor has shared her experience and her hopes of seeing positive changes as a result.

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".