RFCS future focus October 2008 no. 26
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- RFCS future focus October 2008 no. 26
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RFCS future focus
Final Reminder: New Subscription Arrangements for Future Focus
This will be the last RFCS Future Focus newsletter to be sent out to people who are not registered on the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s (DAFF) automated newsletter subscription list service. As mentioned last month, for privacy reasons we cannot transfer current RFCS Future Focus subscribers to the new system. Those that have not already done so will need to visit this webpage.
You will need to tick the checkbox to show you want to receive newsletters from Rural Financial Counselling (and any other newsletters which you are interested in). Enter your name and email address, select whether you want to receive the newsletter in HTML or plain text format, then click “Join”.
Those that have already signed up to the subscription service may receive this issue of the newsletter twice, but this will not happen when the next issue comes out.
National Review of Drought Policy
The final two of a total of three reports commissioned by the Australian Government as part of a comprehensive review of drought assistance provided to farmers, It’s About People: Changing Perspectives on Dryness – a Report to Government by an Expert Social Panel and Inquiry into Government Drought Support (draft) by the Productivity Commission, were released this month.
Both reports include observations and recommendations that may relate to the future role of the Rural Financial Counselling Service. There is a link to the Expert Social Panel’s report under the “Latest Releases” tab on the DAFF website. The draft Productivity Commission report can be accessed at the Productivity Commission’s website.
Office of Rural Financial Counselling (ORFC) Roadshow Rolls on
Alexis Nguyen and Bills Nibbs from the ORFC have been building up DAFF’s frequent flyer points this month, visiting Echuca, Roma and Armidale to conduct training for Rural Financial Counsellors in case management and the new Enterprise Action Plan. Alex, Bill and Jenny Hazelton from NSW TAFE, who has also attended all of these sessions, would like to thank all those involved for their warm welcome and positive response to the training sessions.
The training sessions will continue through November and December, with all future sessions to also include instructions on the use of the new centralised version of the ARC Database, which is due to be released shortly (see below).
Progress Report on the Centralised Australian Rural Counselling (ARC) Database.
Development of the new centralised ARC database continues on schedule. Each service has been advised about arrangements for preliminary checks on data quality prior to the system going into production early in December 2008. The first ARC Database training session is scheduled for 5 November in Longreach, Queensland.
ARC Data Dictionary
On 25 September 2008, the ORFC forwarded a draft version of the ARC Database list dictionary to services’ Executive Officers. This will lead to increased consistency in recording information both between individual Rural Financial Counsellors and services, resulting in improved reporting. Due to popular demand we have extended the deadline for responses back to the ORFC until 15 November 2008.
New ORFC State Contact Arrangements for Queensland and South Australia
New state contact officer arrangements have been put in place for Queensland and South Australia following Michael Amato’s departure from the ORFC. Michael Body is now the contact officer for Queensland, while Dean Curley will take up this role for South Australia. Dean and Michael are the two longest serving members of the ORFC and therefore bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their new roles.
Michael can be contacted on 02 6272 3483 and Dean can be contacted on 02 6272 4201. An updated ORFC staff contact list will be provided a future edition of RFCS Future Focus.
FaHCSIA to Fund Additional Commonwealth Financial Counselling Service Positions
This month, the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) announced that it will provide funding under the Financial Management Program for a further 20 financial counselling positions in high need areas, to improve access to free financial counselling for people experiencing personal financial difficulties. Commonwealth Financial Counsellors are an important referral source for clients that are not eligible for assistance under the Rural Financial Counselling Service Program.
The areas identified for the new Commonwealth Financial Counselling positions are:
- NSW/ACT (4 positions): Western Sydney; Mid-North Coast; Richmond-Tweed; and a specialist telephone financial counselling position to assist people experiencing difficulty as a result of housing debt.
- Victoria (4 positions): North West Melbourne; Greater Dandenong; Greater Geelong; and a specialist position to assist people affected by drug and alcohol addiction.
- Queensland (3 positions): Logan City; Gold Coast; Toowoomba/Ipswich/Upper West Moreton/Lower West Moreton/Scenic Rim.
- South Australia (3 positions): North/West Adelaide; (2 positions) Whyalla/Pirie/Port Lincoln/Tumby Bay/Ceduna/Streaky Bay/Port Augusta.
- Northern Territory (2 positions): North West Top End; East/West Arnhem.
- Western Australia (2 positions): Telephone Financial Counselling (state-wide).
- Tasmania (1 position).
Three Financial Management Resource Support Units will also be funded to provide training, mentoring and support to organisations delivering Money Management Services in remote and regional locations in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
Further documentation and details on how to apply for funding are available at the “Apply for Funding” link on the FaHCSIA website.
The “Drought Law Forum” Answers Legal Questions for Free!
The Drought Law Forum is a drought support initiative funded by FaHCSIA to provide a free national online legal information service for rural communities, farmers and rural small businesses.
The online Forum is supported by 20 lawyers from around Australia who are ready to provide a response to any legal query.
Organisations, such as the Rural Financial Counselling Service which work with people affected by drought, are also encouraged to use the Forum by posting a question, sharing experiences or promoting their services. The Forum has already been viewed by several thousand people and is a great opportunity for individuals or organisations working with people in rural Australia to ask a lawyer a legal question and have the response viewed by many others who could benefit from the information.
Anyone with a legal question or comment can post it to the Forum anonymously and receive a response from an independent legal expert.
Visit the Drought Law Forum and post a comment or question.
A free brochure titled National Directory of Free and Low Cost Legal Services for Rural Australians is also available for organisations and their clients.
For further information on the Drought Law Forum, please contact Richard Coverdale – Website Manager by email or calling 03 5229 0648. To order multiple copies of the brochure contact Katrina on email.
The ORFC will be sending boxes of these brochures to services in the next couple of weeks.
For comments about RFCS Future Focus, email
Office of Rural Financial Counselling
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601
© Commonwealth of Australia 2008
14 Apr 2010