Reports and Submissions
Read the latest reports and submissions from FCVic on a range of topics significant to financial counsellors, consumer advocates and the wider community.
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Submission to the Inquiry into Victoria’s Response to COVID-19
FCVic’s submission to the Inquiry into Victoria’s Response to COVID-19 is focused on the specific and looming challenges for the financial counselling sector and its capacity to respond effectively to community needs resulting from the COVID-19 situation.
Financial counsellors are key frontline workers dealing with hardship issues, akin to the role of healthcare workers in the public health frontline with COVID 19. However the scale of hardship coming will dwarf the capacity of a sector in which there are currently only about 250 financial counsellors currently practising in Victoria.
If the looming financial crisis is viewed through a public health lens, it should be clear that planning and preparation needs to begin now, before the crisis hits.
Submission to the Victorian Fines Reform Advisory Board
In its submission to the Fines Reform Advisory Board, FCVic drew upon feedback from members, raising concerns with the implementation of the new fines system, and pointing to risks that the new Work and Development Permits (WDPs) will be rendered effectively inaccessible for many of those they are designed to assist.
As noted in the submission, for the WDPs to work as a system in Victoria there needs to be additional investment in financial counselling services, recognising the significant demand issues already being experienced by the financial counselling sector, and also its strategic role in enabling client access to the WDP scheme.
Counting the Costs: report on financial counsellor stress and work overload
The level of risk of harm for financial counsellors from their work has risen to unacceptable levels in recent years, with little coordinated effort being put in place to manage those risks appropriately.
In 2019, Financial Counselling Victoria (FCVic, formerly FCRC) conducted an extensive survey of the state’s financial counsellors in order to measure the levels of stress and burnout experienced by the sector. The results – based on responses from more than 160 practitioners – paint a clear picture of unsustainable workloads and mounting pressures which pose a serious threat to the well-being of financial counsellors.
Through the recommendations of the report, we are eager to work with financial counsellors, their employing agencies and funding bodies to address and resolve the causes of the current situation.
Submission to the Local Government Rating System Review
As the peak body for financial counsellors in Victoria, FCRC has had considerable feedback from its 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.
In its submission to the Rating System Review, FCRC has recommended that the State Government, in consultation with peak bodies and consumer organisations develop and introduce mandated hardship and related processes for Councils to adopt and implement.