More than 650 people have registered for Financial Counselling Australia’s (FCA) annual conference, Monday May 17 – Friday May 21.
Around 60 of these registrations are for the virtual ‘zoom me in’ version of the conference, which allows attendees to participate remotely via video streaming technology, while the remaining attendees will visit the conference in person at Darwin.
This is a remarkable outcome, as last year’s conference was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent travel restrictions throughout Australia.
“Earlier this year, we didn’t know if we’d be able to get this event off the ground. Despite our sense of optimism, at times things seemed unpredictable with travel restrictions,” said Fiona Guthrie, the CEO of FCA.
“We couldn’t have secured more than 650 registrations without the support and enthusiasm of everyone involved – we’re extremely grateful for that,” said Ms Guthrie.
In collaboration with the Northern Territory government, FCA has implemented a comprehensive health safety plan to mitigate any risks associated with the pandemic.
“We’re determined that our 2021 conference will go ahead. In fact, we’ve planned meticulously to make it happen. It’s great that COVID-19 case numbers are low enough now that we can travel interstate.
“Financial counsellors and capability workers, community lawyers, financial regulators, industry representatives and many others will travel from far and wide to sunny Darwin,” said Ms Guthrie.
Conference attendees are encouraged to explore the Northern Territory and to support local businesses.
“We had feedback from Darwin-based financial counsellors that the end of JobKeeper and reduction of JobSeeker has hit some small businesses hard. We want to support the local economy.
“We’ve planned activities for our conference attendees around Darwin: the deckchair cinema, Mindil Beach Markets and a walking tour, as well as visits to local bars and restaurants,” Ms Guthrie said.
The conference will take place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel on the esplanade. Some events will also be held at the nearby Darwin Entertainment Centre.
Please note that FCA’s conference is not open to the public. It is a closed event for people who are part of the financial counselling sector, as well as financial regulators and service providers.
About financial counselling in the Northern Territory
Financial counsellors assist people experiencing financial difficulty. They provide information and advice to help people tackle their financial problems and to minimise the risk of issues occurring in the future. Financial counselling services are free, confidential and independent.
In the Northern Territory, financial counselling services are provided by several community organisations, such as Anglicare NT, Somerville Community Services, Catholic Care NT, HK Money Management, Lutheran Community Care and MoneyMob.
For people who are struggling with debt, the best way to access financial counselling is to call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007. Callers are put through to a financial counsellor in their state or territory, who can refer them to face-to-face services if needed.
Maura Angle, FCA Director of Community Engagement
0418 334 121 or email [email protected]