As we are now settling in to the new year, we’re all very hopeful to see more signs of returning to normal. I know in speaking with many members some have returned to the office for work and some soon will, while others continue to work from home. The sudden COVID lockdown again created further turmoil, luckily being short lived. Back are the donut days we are so keen to see, and hopefully now we can continue to look forward and plan events in face-to-face ways, which no doubt we have all missed.
The FCVic staff and Board are well underway in planning our annual Strategic Review session to be held in-person, mid-March. This valuable interaction brings together FCVic Board, staff and the convenors of our various networks and working groups. We are optimistic the event can go ahead face-to-face, while adhering to public health advice and following COVID safe plans.
The FCVic COVID Summit is also going ahead, with the new date scheduled for April 22nd. A one-day conference style event with financial counsellors and industry representatives and stakeholders attending to hear what’s changed, discuss new challenges and just reconnect after an extremely tough year for many. The registrations for this event will open soon, in the meantime save the date in your calendars and hopefully we can all look forward to this one.
The Save Safe Lending campaign headed to Canberra. Many financial counsellors and agencies, along with other campaign supporters were actively involved in sharing stories, tweeting messages to Parliamentarians and other social media pages to have our united voices heard. Here’s hoping we have had the impact needed to save changes to these laws that help protect our most vulnerable Australians.
Lastly, we saw the heartbreaking announcement of the permanent increase in the Jobseeker payment being a mere $50 per fortnight when the COVID Supplement ends next month. We know firsthand that the less than $4 per day increase will do almost nothing to help our most vulnerable and disadvantaged clients live, and sadly this will keep them in poverty. This announcement has come with added mutual obligation requirements that the unemployed will need to meet to receive these payments. This is not the increase we were hoping to see and have been campaigning hard for, with many other community groups. I know we won’t give up! As frustrating as this has been, we will continue to advocate for our clients and tell their stories. I want to acknowledge the members who have been so committed to seeking change and thank them all for their contributions and tireless efforts. No doubt we will continue campaigning hard!