A warm welcome back to all our members and stakeholders reading our first Devil’s Advocate for 2022. Here’s hoping you all enjoyed a lovely Christmas break and possibly some extra downtime to relax.
The year has started with what seems like another mixed bag of tricks! We have seen wild weather once again with cyclones off the North-East coast, tsunami warning for the East coast and the hottest day on record in WA this month at 50.7 degrees!
Our lives are still impacted with COVID-19, as we see the new Omicron variant spread very rapidly among our communities all across Australia and for the first time through this pandemic Australia has some of the highest numbers per capita. Not only are we seeing our family and friends being quarantined with the virus, or as close contacts of someone positive, we are also seeing the significant impacts in other areas due to workforce shortages. Whether it be at our local supermarket where stocks are struggling to hit the shelves, or the hospitals implementing a code brown, with many people already waiting on medical procedures now facing further delays.
For us as a sector we have sadly had to postpone the FCVic Conference again. We were all very much looking forward to our Summer Conference but, reluctantly, we had to come to the decision to reschedule the event for later in the year. New dates are still being sourced and will be announced as soon as possible. No action is required to be undertaken by delegates at this stage, please stay tuned for further updates.
For our financial counsellor members, the membership renewal period is currently open until the end of February. Members still needing to submit their renewals, can do so here. We encourage members to renew early to allow time for processing of the applications to be completed.
Some great news is that funding for the Small Business Debt Helpline has been extended by the Federal Government until the end of 2022. This important and free service assists small business owners in financial difficulty. Staffed by specialist small business financial counsellors, the helpline provides independent, confidential and practical advice to help small business owners get back on track. A service very much needed in these difficult times.
With January wrapping up today, tomorrow marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, and we are entering the Year of the Water Tiger. Some of the defining qualities of Tigers in the Lunar zodiac are ‘being extremely competitive and known for their courage and ambition, but also very generous and with a drive to help others. Tigers want to win but they’re also always seeking justice.’ Sounds like a lot of financial counsellors I know; driven, passionate and with a deep-rooted sense of justice and desire to help. Here’s to the courage and ambition of the sector being amplified by the Year of the Water Tiger – I think it’s our year!