As winter comes to an end today and Melbourne comes out of its latest COVID wave, we are looking forward to our first in-person Conference since 2019, which kicks off in a few short weeks, running from Tuesday 20 to Thursday 22 September. We have a full line-up of fascinating panel sessions, exciting PD sessions and breakouts, almost 40 exhibitors all set, with nearly 350 registrations set to attend.
Also, as I write, we are close to completing a submission to the Victorian Government’ Consultation on its Suicide Prevention and Response Strategy. We are emphasising the significant role financial hardship, debt and vulnerability play in suicidality, in conjunction with other forms of disadvantage, trauma and vulnerability. We will be pointing out that financial counsellors play a crucial and unique role in supporting people affected by these things, and finding practical and empowering ways of addressing the financial aspects of their situation – and this can assist with both suicide prevention and response. While obvious to our sector, much of this is new to many working in mental health and on suicide issues. In that context, this submission will be the latest in a range of our activities, aiming to get financial counsellors included in a more deeply integrated way across a range of services, from family violence to mental health, and getting our perspective heard when planning strategies around social and community wellbeing.
Lastly, I want to mention that FCVic helped organise and run a forum Insurance in a Changing Climate in Melbourne on Tuesday, 26 July 2022, along with the Melbourne Institute for Applied Economic Research and the Brotherhood of St Laurence. We have now co-produced a summary of this event, which helps share the insights of the day around a range of the challenges for house and contents insurance. As Australia heads towards a wet spring and early summer, and in Victoria we continue to recover from the pandemic, but also from bushfires and flood and storm damage, making insurance affordable and accessible for households – whether renters or homeowners – is critical to building a fair and equitable community.