FCA

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More Australians will now have access to support from financial counsellors with the launch of the Financial Counselling Industry Fund (FCIF). The FCIF is the result of a collaboration between the financial counselling sector and a number of industries and companies – Australian Banking Association member banks, Australian Energy Council, Energy Networks Australia, Insurance Council…

Read More Financial Counselling Industry Fund Launches

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Australians struggling with debt and cost-of-living pressures are turning to free and independent debt helplines in their thousands. Calls and chats to the National Debt Helpline (NDH) and the Small Business Debt Helpline (SBDH) have soared over the past 12 months. Both services are coordinated by Financial Counselling Australia. “In February NDH dealt with 14,871 enquiries. That’s a 17%…

Read More Cost of Living Crisis sees more calls to Free Debt Helplines

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“No one should come off BetStop and be able to gamble without a sensible deposit limit in place. Right now, a person can revoke the self-exclusion and the following day they can bet $100,000 which is clearly absurd,” Ms Levin said.

The new BetStop data shows that 1400 people have revoked their self-exclusion, and this group are most at risk.

Read More BetStop a Good Start but Expansion is Needed

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Financial Counselling Australia is delighted with today’s Government announcement about the establishment of an independent body to accept contributions from industry to fund financial counselling services.
The implementation of an industry funding model, with funding administered by an independent body, was recommended by the Sylvan Review of financial counselling in March 2019. This was an appropriate, and innovative, response to the problem of long waiting lists to see a financial counsellor, including some people being turned away.

Read More Financial Counselling Sector Applauds the Launch of New Funding Model

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“If lotteries get this carve-out and people can use credit cards, it will be the thin edge of the wedge. They will then get carve-outs from future advertising and inducement reforms. We’ll regret this mistake when lotteries are advertised day and night and people increasingly spend large sums of money.”

Ms Levin said lotteries were no longer harmless fun as portrayed by providers. They were now also a far cry from the benign, government-owned public sweeps that we remember from childhood, and which had legislation that mandated donating money to charitable causes.

Read More ‘Not harmless fun’ – Advocates Call for Credit Card Ban to Extend to Scratchies and Lottery Tickets

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Almost a year after state and territory consumer ministers agreed to open consultation on options to address the gap in Australian Consumer Law (ACL) around unfair trading practices, Treasury has released a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (CRIS) and given stakeholders 91 days to respond starting 31st August and ending 29th November 2023.

Read More Consumer Groups Advocate for Change as Consultations Open on Unfair Trading Practices

BET STOP: The National Self-Exclusion Register™

Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) has welcomed the start of Australia’s first online gambling exclusion register, while at the same time calling on governments to expand the facility to casinos, pokies and lotteries.
“We started advocating for this in 2015 and didn’t give up, because we always knew that an online gambling self-exclusion register would help a lot of people,” Ms Levin said.

“Now we call on the state premiers to make BetStop a national register for all forms of gambling, including casinos, pokies, and lotteries. It’s not rocket science to simply give people the protection that they are asking for.”

Read More FCA Welcomes BetStop, Calls for Register to Extend Further

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Consumer groups and the financial counselling sector have welcomed the launch of a new customer code for the energy sector.

The Knock to Stay Connected customer code requires network companies to visit people at risk of disconnection and encourages them to outline the support and referral services available if the customer is having payment difficulties, with the aim of keeping them connected.

Read More Knock to Stay Connected: National Customer Code Welcomed by Consumer Groups