As Victorians we stand together fighting the scourge of COVID-19. We do this in simple ways: washing our hands, wearing a mask, maintaining 1.5m social distance. We also do this as an industry through our work, providing support for those who have lost their jobs, businesses, and their financial security.
For many agencies, referrals to financial counselling services have temporarily slowed and this has helped get waitlists under control. Overworked financial counsellors are finally getting a moment to catch their breath, but are not afforded the privilege of being able to relax as the spectre of the future looms over us.
Both tiers of government have brought us into the tent to help deal with the fallout from the virus. The Federal Government has provided additional funding to agencies to expand the sector for the projected surge in demand.
The State Government is providing extra funding to FCVic to work on key projects, and FCVic has been busy planning these new projects in the mental health, utilities and tenancy spaces.
FCVic has also been recruiting to help with workforce development and training, as well as feeding into various other projects and campaigns, such as the Raise the Rate campaign.
Work is being done to prepare a one-day industry summit for next year, as well as an electronic AGM as an alternative to the one normally held alongside the conference. Luckily, our new constitution when revamped last year included provisions for electronic, remote participation.
In dark times we have to remember what we are grateful for. I am grateful I am a financial counsellor. Whilst many other sectors are doing it tough right now, our sector looks like it will come out the other side of this crisis stronger and with a larger membership.
I am also happy that people on Jobseeker are finally getting enough money to live on. Hopefully, the government sees the light and raises the rate permanently, instead of leaving people to languish in abject poverty. With so many people stuck on Centrelink, the pressure to raise the rate can only help the cause.