Articles of interest - 17 February

Written on the 17 February 2021 by SAFCA

  • FCA Weekly Digest 12 February 2021
  • Telstra announces changes to retail store network
  • Gambling Regulation report on ABC
  • The BULB ConnectEd
  • News from SACOSS - Raise the Rate - SA Treasurer pitches in
     


FCA Weekly Digest 12 February 2021

Extracts from the FCA Weekly Digest

News and Updates

New Small Business Section on the FCA Toolkit

The new small business section on the toolkit portal is available.

The resources can be used for guidance and as referral tools. They can also assist the professional development of financial counsellors who deal with small business clients.

Regardless of the type of small business, financial counsellors assist the individuals involved with the business.

Our focus is on the debt and we don't devise business plans or marketing strategies. Remember: If you're not comfortable providing advice and assistance, don't do it.

You can also refer small business clients to the Small Business Debt Helpline on 1800 413 828.

The new small business pages on the toolkit include:

  • Scope of SBFC Service
  • Business Structures
  • Business Tax
  • Insolvency
  • Small Business and the Law
  • Financial Records and Cashflow
  • Business Viability
  • Business Finance
  • Insurance
  • Commercial Property Leases
  • General Assistance for Small Business
  • Ombudsman schemes and Small Business Commissioners
  • Small Business Handbook


*Resources about employee entitlements and mental wellbeing will be added soon.

To access the small business category, click the shop icon on the toolkit sidebar.

Bushfire Newsletter: Second Edition

The second edition of our bushfire financial counselling newsletter is now available.

It aims to connect the people and agencies who provide Bushfire Financial Counselling throughout Australia.

We share recent news and detail the incredible work of financial counsellors and their agencies, as part of the recovery process.

Further editions will be released in future. If you have articles or insights you'd like to share, please contact Georgia Lenton-Williams at georgia.lw@financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au.

Click here to view the full newsletter.

Jan Pentland Scholarship Applications Open Now

The Jan Pentland Foundation provides scholarships to people who will make a great contribution to the financial counselling sector but require financial assistance to complete the Diploma of Financial Counselling.

The scholarships cover costs associated with the diploma up to $5,000.

This year, the Foundation is encouraging applicants who live in rural or remote areas (or who would be willing to move to a rural or remote area). This is because there are still shortages of financial counsellors in rural and remote areas.

If you know someone who you think would make a great financial counsellor, please invite them to apply.

Applications close on Monday April 5. To apply and for more information, go to the Jan Pentland Foundation website https://www.janpentlandfoundation.org/

Feedback About Customer Owned Banks

The Customer Owned Banking Code Compliance Committee (COBCCC) is looking to develop its work plan for the coming year.

One of the challenges COBCCC is facing is that there's not a lot of feedback from consumers/consumer representatives/small business regarding the customer owned banking industry.

If anyone has feedback about customer owned banks and issues that need to be looked at, please email Fiona Guthrie at fiona.guthrie@financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au

We'd really appreciate hearing your thoughts.

ACMA Report: Customer Financial Hardship in the Telco Industry

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has published its 2019-20 report on financial hardship in the telecommunications sector.

The report is accompanied by a qualitative research piece containing insights from 10 financial counsellors, who were interviewed in October and early November 2020.

The interviews covered their experiences dealing with telcos on financial hardship and includes specific suggestions about how telcos could improve financial hardship assistance.

Click here Financial Hardship in the Telco Industry

Click here views from Financial Counsellors

EAP Newsletter: Reset and Commit to 2021

As part of our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) package for the sector, we receive wellbeing resources that are available for your use.

This newsletter focusses on committing to good wellbeing habits throughout the year.

By now, many of those new year's resolutions have already been discarded. They've put together some tips on how to ensure work and personal intentions become good habits.

Click here to read the full newsletter
 



Telstra announces changes to retail store network

Thursday 11 February Telstra today announced its intention to transition to full Telstra ownership for its bricks and mortar branded retail stores across Australia.

Telstra has 67 Telstra owned and operated stores, with another 166 branded stores run by independent licensees and a further 104 stores operated by Vita Group Limited.

Click the link to read the full Media Release
 



Gambling Regulation report on ABC

Tony Robinson, FCA Board member has done a lot of media over the past few days in response to the Bergin Report (the inquiry into the licensing for Crown Casino in NSW).

Key points:

  • A scathing report into Crown casino also questions the efficacy of state-based regulation
  • One former state gaming minister says the current system has been overwhelmed
  • Online gambling is already essentially under Commonwealth control

More info
 



The BULB - ConnectEd

The BULB aims to inform and inspire - a platform for ongoing education and support to community services workers, volunteers and the wider community. This publication is from ConnectEd - Keeping people connected to energy, water and communications.

A quick ConnectEd update

ConnectEd provides support face-to-face, online and on the phone. COVID-safe procedures allow us to once again visit you at home and work, and to invite folks in to meet with us, or you can join us online for a workshop, or on the phone for financial counselling and home energy assistance.

This update lists our 2021 Term 1 services - please do forward this email to anyone you know who might like to refer their clients or join us for some training. You can see past issues of The BULB, or subscribe, here.

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Utilities Literacy Training for Community Workers
  • New workshop: Time of Use Tariffs Explained
  • Financial Counsellors help with debts
  • ConnectEd Info Sessions
  • Home Energy Assessments
  • Summer Cooling Tips
  • Question from the Field: Seniors Card

Next Workshop starts Tuesday 16 Feb!

Choose from two delivery options: face-to-face training at Bowden over two days in February, or online training via Zoom over five weekly sessions through March.                  

ConnectEd's Utilities Literacy Training for Community Workers will teach you about:

  • Electricity, Gas and Water in South Australia
  • Reading and understanding meters and bills
  • Using energy and water efficiently at home
  • How to choose an energy retailer and get a good deal
  • Concessions, complaints, disputes and hardship
  • New technologies and tariff reform.

Face-to-face:
Day 1: Tuesday 16 February 9:30 - 4:30
Day 2: Tuesday 23 February 9:30 - 4:30
at UCWB, 77 Gibson Street, Bowden.
Register here

Online:
Wednesdays from 3 March 9:30 - 12:00
5 weeks: 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 March
Register here


New workshop: Time of Use Tariffs


Increasingly, electricity bills will feature prices that vary according to the time of day that appliances are used.

Time of Use Tariffs may already be applied to electric storage hot water systems, and search results on EnergyMadeEasy.gov.au feature lots of ToU offers. From 1 July 2021, retailers will pay the distributor a Time of Use tariff for all of their Smart Meter customers. Many retailers will pass that on to their customers.

So what do electricity consumers need to know about Time of Use Tariffs to get the best results? Do you know how to talk with your clients about ToU?

Join ConnectEd for a discussion about how this works, who it affects, and what it means.

Online:
Thursday 4 March 10:30 - 11:30
Register here


Financial Counselling services

ConnectEd's Financial Counsellors are expert at getting the best outcomes from energy, water and telecommunications providers on behalf of customers with financial difficulties.

With the huge disruptions caused by COVID-19, financial counsellors have met a new cohort of clients who found themselves in need of support for the first time. As COVID-19 income supports reduce, and debt and eviction pauses wind up, financial counsellors remain poised to support both new and old clients through challenging times.

To arrange to speak to a Financial Counsellor, please contact the National Debt Helpline: 1800 007 007.

ConnectEd Information sessions

ConnectEd provides information sessions about energy, water and telecommunications, either open to the public, or exclusively to particular groups.

If you know a group that would like to learn about utilities, do get in contact with us - we can provide appropriate education sessions, either face-to-face or online.

To attend a public session, check the Community Education page on the ConnectEd website to find out what's on near you.

Public sessions are coming up on 12 March at Playford Library, Elizabeth, and 16 February at The Arthouse, Rostrevor.

Summer Cooling Tips

ConnectEd has developed a new handout about keeping cool in summer, without blowing the electricity budget.

As the weather heats up again this week, the information sheet suggests 4 things to consider.

The handout can be downloaded from the ConnectEd website

Question from the field

At a recent community event, someone asked: does the holder of a Seniors Card qualify for an Energy Concession?

A bit of investigation confirmed that there are TWO similar-sounding cards: the SA Government's Seniors Card and the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. Eligibility criteria differ for each card, but it is only the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card that gives its holder access to the SA Energy Concession.

You may also qualify for the Energy Concession if you hold a Pensioner Concession Card, a DVA Gold Card, or a Low Income Health Care Card.

Parents who receive Family Tax Benefit and have a Health Care Card from Centrelink need to apply separately for the Low Income Health Care Card in order to qualify for the Energy Concession - your Health Care Card needs the letters "LI", not "FA".
 



News from SACOSS

Raise the Rate - SA Treasurer pitches in

Our national campaign with ACOSS and other state councils of social service to raise the rate of JobSeeker and other income support payments permanently to an adequate level continues, with some welcome remarks recently reported in Indaily from SA Treasurer Rob Lucas, who has echoed comments by Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe last week that welfare payments should be increased. The Treasurer stated that "In terms of economic stimulus, increases in expenditure or income for those who receive the supplement, a good deal of that ends up flowing through the economy because it helps to pay for necessary goods and services that those households have been spending their money on ... From that view point it's A, good for individual households but also B, as the Reserve Governor has indicated a benefit for the national economy and also for the state's economy as well." Indaily also reports that about $35 million a month will be stripped from the SA economy if the JobSeeker coronavirus supplement is axed in March.

 


Author: SAFCA

SAFCA

Suite 7 Wellington Centre, 2 Portrush Rd.
Payneham SA 5070