Keep up to date with news that informs your practice and expands awareness of your client’s rights.

News from the Integrated Services Project

Social Security Rights Victoria Inc. (‘SSRV’) and Financial Counselling Victoria (FCVic) are continuing their partnership in 2020. The Integrated Services Project (ISP) has been funded for a second year. We look forward to continuing to improve client outcomes by bringing together the work of specialist social security lawyers and financial counsellors.

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Chair’s report – January 2020

In alternating issues of the Devil’s Advocate, the FCVic Chairperson contributes a message to the sector. This month, Colin Harte discusses the financial counselling sector response to the bushfire disaster.

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Interview with Joy Mason, Centrecare (WA)

In each issue of the Devil’s Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members.

This month, Joy Mason talks about her eye-opening decision to “go West” and step outside her comfort zone. Joy has spent the past 12 months working in remote WA communities, and offers encouragement for others to give it a go.

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Researching the impact of financial difficulty assistance, bankruptcy and debt agreements: Seeking survey participants!

Do existing laws help consumers recover from over-indebtedness? A call for participants for the next phase of my research.

In the June 2019 edition of the Devil’s Advocate, I told readers about my research on the impacts of bankruptcy, debt agreements and financial difficulty assistance. I invited financial counsellors to help promote my study by letting relevant clients (or former clients) know about the opportunity to complete an online survey about their experiences. I am very grateful to those who were able to assist.

I am now starting a new phase of the data collection, and inviting financial counsellors, insolvency practitioners, and others who work in the sector to share their insights on the different options. Interested practitioners can complete an anonymous online survey for the study, available here: https://melbourneuni.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6RRwGzecQs8dxQx.

The debtor surveys also remain open for a few more weeks, so I am still keen to hear from you if you can help by promoting the surveys to clients and/or former clients, and/or through social media.

Please contact me for more information (including suggested text for social media or an email to clients) (nhowell@student.unimelb.edu.au or (07) 3138 2006), or follow the link for more details (link to full article).

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Chair’s report – November 2019

In alternating issues of the Devil’s Advocate, the FCRC Chairperson contributes a message to the sector. This month, Colin Harte reflects on the “exciting times” ahead for the financial counselling sector, and welcomes the new FCRC Board elected at the AGM in October.

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Interview with Linda Burnett, knowmore legal service

In each issue of the Devil’s Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members.

This month, Linda Burnett, financial counsellor for knowmore legal service, explains her unique role working with survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, as part of the National Redress Scheme. Linda also talks about the life-changing moment when she discovered financial counselling.

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FCRC submission to the Local Government Rating System Review

FCRC recently made its submission to the review of council rating systems, on behalf of Victorian financial counsellors. We received considerable feedback from our members raising concerns about how councils respond to vulnerable people in the community experiencing hardship resulting from rate charges and rate arrears. These issues are essential to address if Victoria’s rating system is to be fair and equitable for everyone in the community.

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FCRC 2019 Conference highlights

The FCRC Conference this year took place in idyllic Ballarat. The theme for our conference was “Expanding Horizons” which led to a number of robust discussions and cross-sector collaborations that shaped our program over the three-days. We’ve brought together the highlights of the event in this recap.

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Interview with Leanne Khan, SSRV

In each issue of the Devil’s Advocate, FCRC shines the spotlight on one of our members.

This month, Leanne Khan, financial counsellor with SSRV, talks about the benefits of integrated service models. She also reflects on her steep learning curve when starting financial counselling, and the synergy of community development and social justice within the role.

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