COVID 19 poses many challenges for financial counsellors in Victoria. ‘Working from Home’ isolates workers and expands their needs for support and risks to wellbeing, and FCVic has an important role to play in supporting our members and responding to those needs. We are holding regular zoom meetings of networks and working groups to reduce isolation and provide avenues of support.
At the same time, proper welfare assistance from the Commonwealth has shown how quickly a difference can be made to poverty and hardship where there is political leadership. There has been a clear reduction in need for financial counselling assistance in many areas. Yet an air of unreality pervades. We can anticipate a looming hardship crisis, as relatively generous jobseeker and jobkeeper allowances are reduced or ceased, but unemployment remains at high levels and the economy struggles. There is a small window at present to prepare for what is likely to be an unprecedented wave of demand. The Federal government has put funding into the sector to help it expand and prepare, and we are urging the State Government to partner with us in planning for this in Victoria.