Sector Articles of Interest - 11 November

Written on the 11 November 2020 by SAFCA

  • FCA Weekly Digest 2-8 November
  • Consumer Action Law Centre impact report
  • SACOSS Cost of living update
  • SACOSS Free Bushfire Legal help
  • ANZ Update



FCA Weekly Digest 2-6 November

Monday 2 - Friday 6 November

Welcome to the fourth edition of our Weekly Digest. This issue covers Monday 2 - Friday 6 November 2020.

This email is to keep you across any recent changes to the Toolkit, COVID-19 Toolkit and the National Debt Helpline website.

We have decided we should offer an alternative to the Facebook group, as not everyone is engaged via that platform. The Facebook group will remain active and this newsletter reflects the posts we make each week.

Looking for a different Weekly Digest? You can find all our previous versions on the Weekly Digest Toolkit page.

Changes to Toolkit and Website Resources

Financial Counselling Australia Toolkit

The National Hardship Register (NHR) Factsheet and the Information for Clients brochure have been updated.

There is more information about this below. 

COVID-19 Toolkit

Information about Superannuation updated to reflect recent changes. - https://www.covid19fc.org.au/super

News and Updates

Posted on Facebook Toolkit Group throughout the week.

Please Take Our Survey for the Responsible Lending Campaign

The Government is proposing to repeal responsible lending laws by March 2021.

We're conducting a survey to understand the views of financial counsellors about this proposal.

We'll use this information in our campaign arguing that these changes should not go ahead.

The campaign is being coordinated by FCA in collaboration with the State and Territory financial counselling associations.

The deadline to complete the survey is next Friday, 13 November. It is available on Survey Monkey - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NSYJ7KH

Your contribution is greatly appreciated! If you have any questions, please contact James Sleep - james.sleep@financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au

Changes to the National Hardship Register

There have been some changes to the debt collectors participating in the National Hardship Register.

Credit Four and Nexxa Portfolio Management stopped participating in August 2020, and Inter Credit have joined.

The NHR Factsheet and the Information for Clients brochure have both been updated and are available on the Toolkit, as well as the members area of the National Hardship Register website.

Credit Four and Nexxa have not yet been removed from the list in the Online Portal application process, but mentions of them as Participating Creditors have been removed from the NHR website and other documentation.
If you would like to access the National Hardship Register - https://www.nhr.org.au/?fbclid=IwAR05EhRlya-1a2vxMOdnKcSJmB3SEmiQZdaX2FPNl14xydyJ72qRennVluU  for your clients, you must first complete the training webinar. These are delivered monthly. You can register here for a webinar - https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_FEXbI4cfRG-Faw4wp1Vjnw?fbclid=IwAR0jcMOml_4zNyQHFFxRQNiy9EU69fhnowWuvOW8rNk4_uGXw2_524HZk7c

Responses from MPs and Senators

Recently we've been asking those of you who are involved in the Responsible Lending campaign to contact your local MPs and Senators.

Have you had any responses from politicians that you've reached out to? Or do you have any feedback about this process?

We'd love to hear about your experiences! Please email Maura Angle at maura.angle@financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au . Thank you

Freeze on Forced Sales: Commonwealth Bank Guide for Financial Counsellors

The Commonwealth Bank has announced they will be putting in place a freeze on forced sales for COVID home loan deferral customers who are unable to return to full repayments.

In others words, for customers who are not able to resume home loan repayments because of the pandemic, but who had been up to date before the pandemic, they will not force the sale of the property until September 2021.

That's a good outcome for this group of people and will give them some breathing space.

Commbank have prepared the attached guide, to support financial counsellors as you have discussions with eligible customers. Please see the guide for further information - Click here

ABA Supports Financial Counselling in Media Release

A recent media release by the Australian Banking Association (ABA) made significant statements about financial counselling and possible funding:

"Access to financial counsellors is also a key element of community resilience and recovery and deserves focus under the remit of Recommendation 22.5.

"The ABA supports the development of an enduring funding model made up of a fixed level of Government funding and levies on the financial sector and non-financial sector participants that reflect the drivers of financial hardship.

"This will ensure a sustainable funding base so people suffering terrible hardship can access critical advice and support when they need it."

Read the full media release for more info. -  https://mailchi.mp/ausbanking/bushfire-royal-commission-to-improve-disaster-coordination?e=5df3560c5b&fbclid=IwAR2oZhYfC88urQVD2uvs9gpJBTpHwbSk6P9dSpYuGN5Zru0Zwb7EhubKDEk

The Wave of Debt That Could Soon Engulf Many Australians

Opposition is growing to the Federal Government's plan to axe responsible lending laws. This investigative article by CHOICE is an important read. - https://www.choice.com.au/money/banking/everyday-banking/articles/responsible-lending-laws-if-axed-will-engulf-australians-in-debt-they-cant-afford?fbclid=IwAR0QFHJ22uMniOLVfHydSuahBZ0l1AYjxSS3-LyANPWC_Uw2ThhvLOjqjjI

Having trouble reading the FCA articles? Go to the Toolkit and you will find all copies of the Weekly Digest.

6/179 Queen Street, Melbourne VIC W: www.financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au Ph: 0402 923 750  Email: info@financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au
 



Consumer Action Law Centre impact report

While the year has been tumultuous including severe bushfires hitting Victoria and South-Eastern Australia, as well as, of course, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic Consumer Action has continued to provide important services and advocacy for those experiencing vulnerability or disadvantage. Our essential advice services   telephone financial counselling, consumer and worker legal advice transitioned to all staff working from home and did not skip a beat.

Click here to read the impact report - Click here
 



SACOSS Cost of living update

New Cost of Living Update, September Quarter 2020

Our latest Cost of Living Update, released last week, shows that regional South Australia still faces greater challenges than Adelaide in telecommunications affordability, and SA is still lagging behind than the national average in affordability and digital inclusion. The data, in the Cost of Living Update for the September Quarter, is based on the Australian Digital Inclusion Index which was released in October.

The data shows:

  • a 6.7-point affordability gap between Adelaide and regional South Australia (with affordability scored out of 100 in the Index);
  • the gap between Adelaide and the regions has been a feature of the Index since its inception and is slightly bigger now than in 2014;
  • value for money has improved as unit costs for data have decreased, but people in regional areas are still paying more for data than in the city and it is having a bigger impact on their budget;
  • households in the lowest income quintile struggle more with affordability of telecommunications and are falling further behind other households;
  • South Australia lags behind most of the country in digital inclusion generally, although the affordability gap between city and country gap is less in SA than the 9.7 point national score.

SACOSS CEO Ross Womersley said: "The affordability of telecommunications is crucial to ensuring that everyone can participate in and enjoy the benefits of a digital world, so it is deeply concerning that people in regional South Australia are facing higher prices than their city counterparts and struggling more with affordability. It is also disappointing that this affordability gap is not decreasing."

Read the entire Cost of Living update here. https://www.sacoss.org.au/no44-september-quarter-2020-telecommunications
 



SACOSS Free Bushfire Legal help

The Legal Services Commission of South Australia (LSC) and Community Legal Centres SA (CLCSA) provide free legal advice to individuals, small businesses and primary producers impacted by the 2019-2020 bushfires.

LSC provides a weekly free legal advice clinic to the Lobethal Recovery Centre and a free telephone legal advice Monday to Friday between 9:00am and 5:00pm

CLCSA provides a free weekly legal advice clinic to the Kangaroo Island Recovery Centre between 9:30AM - 4:30PM.Advice and information will be provided on most legal matters including:

  • insurance disputes
  • fencing and neighbour issues
  • contract matters
  • debt issues
  • family law
  • volunteer organisations
  • employment
  • and more

Lobethal weekly clinic

Fabrik Arts + Heritage, Old Woollen Mill, 1 Adelaide, Lobethal Road, Lobethal SA on Mondays between 9:30am and 4:30pm

For free and confidential legal advice, or to refer a client please make a booking on 1300 366 424 Monday to Friday, between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.

Kangaroo Island weekly clinic

Recovery Centre 12 Jubilee Avenue, Parndana, SA on Wednesdays between 9:30am and 4:30pm

For free and confidential legal advice, or to refer a client please make a booking on 08 8121 4473 Monday to Friday, between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.
 



ANZ Update

A short interview with Ed & Marie

Greetings from the team at ANZ, we wanted to check in with Financial Counsellors, Community Solicitors and Financial Capability workers and provide an update during a year that stretched us out of our comfort zone.

To read the full interview, click here

 


Author: SAFCA

SAFCA

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