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Chair’s report – November 2019

There is an old Chinese curse that goes, “may you live in exciting times,” however with the release of the Sylvan Report when I think of these words, I think of the great potential our sector has for growing in number of practitioners, influence and reach. Hopefully, the government will deliver on this report and we, as a sector, can overcome the tensions between growth and maintaining our high level of professional quality.

FCRC has been busy writing and submitting a tender in conjunction with Carers Victoria that, if successful, could help the sector to grow and continue its move into the health care space.

FCRC has also been working hard on the name change and James has been writing a history of the organisation to celebrate a historic 40 years. Both will have launches in the new year.

The work on stress and burnout continues with the engagement of a professional writer to produce a report and with FCRC and the Board developing strategies to maximise its impact and strategies to get agencies and funding providers involved in the solution. Unfortunately, these things take time to be done properly, so I thank members for their patience and ask that in the interim we FCs stand by each other and are mindful of the pressures on our colleagues.

The Board has been busy since the conference, having met twice already. At its first meeting the Board invited Lisa Garlick to fill the casual vacancy created by my election to the Chair’s position. Welcome Lisa.

I would also like to welcome, again, our new Board members David Balcombe and Tracey Grinter, and congratulate Carly Baker on being re-elected to the Board.

We also bid farewell to the retiring members of the Board, Mark Phillips (Treasurer for four years) and Heather Barclay (Board Director for two years), and thank them both for their significant contribution to our sector.

I would like to give a special farewell to Julie Barrow, outgoing Chair, who stepped up after the passing of Tony Naughton. I also congratulate Julie on being elected to the Board of Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) where she will be an asset to financial counsellors across the country. I look forward to hearing more about her good work at the national level.

The new Constitution means that all Board office bearers, apart from Chair, are appointed by the Board. The Board has met and decided to invite Cathy Clark to stay on as Secretary and David Balcombe to fill the positon of Treasurer to acknowledge the will of the members’ votes, and their distinct skills sets and experience. The new position of Deputy Chair, I am excited to announce, will be filled by Carly Baker. I am looking forward to leading the team into the future.

The Board is currently looking to expand its skill base by recruiting a second co-opted member. Watch this space.