Sector News

Here you’ll find the latest news relevant to the Financial Counselling sector and other related items.

15 November 2018

Banks have answered the call by customers in financial difficulty, but more will need to be done before 1 July 2019 to be ready for the ABA’s new and enhanced Code

Source: Media Release

Australian banks have financial difficulty programs that, for the most part, meet the requirements under the 2013 Code of Banking Practice, according to inquiry findings released today.

 

The inquiry, Assisting customers in financial difficulty (Part 1), was conducted by the independent Banking Code Compliance Monitoring Committee (CCMC) and included data from banks and the views of consumer advocates.

Australian banks have financial difficulty programs that, for the most part, meet the requirements under the 2013 Code of Banking Practice, according to inquiry findings released today.

 

The inquiry, Assisting customers in financial difficulty (Part 1), was conducted by the independent Banking Code Compliance Monitoring Committee (CCMC) and included data from banks and the views of consumer advocates.

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2 November 2018

Progress on on-line gambling regulation in Australia

Thirty-three prominent offshore wagering sites withdrew from Australian markets over 12 months, according to a report on the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA) by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

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30 October 2018

Coalition rolls out $73m financial literacy program to help get household budgets on track

Source: https://ministers.dss.gov.au/

The Coalition Government is backing Australians who struggle with their finances by offering $73.5 million in help to get their household budgets into shape.

Federal Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher today announced the funding to support 50 organisations delivering financial counselling and financial competency services.

“Supporting vulnerable people who need help to organise their finances is part of the Liberal-National Government’s broader plan to make communities more stable,” Mr Fletcher said.

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22 October 2018

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman has published its 2017-2018 Annual Report today (17 October 2018).

Source: www.tio.com.au

Launching the report, Ombudsman Judi Jones said,

“The number of complaints about telecommunications services in Australia appear to be turning a corner.

“Declining complaints across all landline, mobile and internet services are a positive indicator of recent industry, government and regulator efforts to address the disruption to telecommunications products and services of the past few years.

“We all want to get to the same point, a positive consumer experience where expectations are more likely to be met. The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman continues to be committed to reducing complaints, and our purpose and unique role remains clear – to ensure residential consumers and small businesses have access to a free, fair, independent and effective alternative dispute resolution service.”

To read the full report access here

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16 October 2018

Lost his job, about to lose his house – and this WA man is not alone

Source: www.smh.com.au

Ray* is a rural West Australian who lost his job around 18 months ago and hasn’t been able to find another one.

He had to move out of his house and rent a room from a friend, as the Newstart unemployment allowance, which is well below minimum wage and the basic cost of living, left him unable to make his mortgage repayments.

After six months being unable to find a job he began trying to sell his house, but it’s sat on the market for the past year.

He rented it out, but the tenants stopped paying the rent then skipped out not only in arrears, but also leaving Ray with a $3500 water bill.

He’s been unable to get new tenants in.

There’s $135,000 still owing on the mortgage.

He’s now $12,000 behind on the repayments and can’t pay the $2000 rates bill from the council, let alone the $3500 water bill.

In an effort to cover his living expenses he maxed out his two credit cards from back when he had a job, and is now in debt to the tune of $14,000 and the debt collectors are now hounding him.

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10 October 2018

SAFCA announces new Chair of the Association

The SAFCA Board is now under the leadership of a new Chair. Carolyn Piper (former deputy Chair), commenced in the position at the SAFCA AGM held on Monday October 8.

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10 October 2018

Delaying benefit payments is saving the government millions

Source: www.theage.com.au

Scott Morrison’s first message to the people of Australia after being anointed Prime Minister was “we’re on your side”. It was a welcome change in message after he had previously used the term “taxed and the taxed-nots” as federal treasurer to describe the social security system.

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24 September 2018

Amid an epidemic of mortgage stress, a perfect financial storm is on the way, experts warn

As Australia’s levels of household debt relative to disposable income hit historic highs, experts are warning of a perfect financial storm on the horizon for struggling home owners with a surge in repayments set to hit interest-only home loans over the coming 12 months.

Homeowners, particularly in the mining states of WA and Queensland, are already grappling with a number of factors including unemployment, under-employment, stagnant wages growth and weak house prices.

Another looming threat is rising interest rates, with three of the four major banks raising variable home loan rates earlier this year independent of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

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19 September 2018

Resignation of Mr Peter Kell as a Deputy Chair of ASIC

Source: jaf.ministers.treasury.gov.au/media-release/

Mr Peter Kell has announced his resignation as Deputy Chair of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), following seven years of service.

Since beginning his tenure in 2011, Mr Kell has been part of ASIC’s leadership team, first as a member and then from 2013 as Deputy Chair. His experience and understanding of corporate regulation has been appreciated by successive governments as well as members of ASIC.

Mr Kell’s time at ASIC followed a stint as Deputy Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. He has also been on the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board since its establishment, has made a significant contribution to improving financial literacy and ensured that the transition to the new Chair of ASIC was as smooth as possible, including serving as Acting Chair.

ASIC has six Commissioners, with new Commissioner Danielle Press starting this week. Mr Kell’s resignation will be effective from 6 December. Sean Hughes is due to commence as a Commissioner later this year.

The Coalition Government has undertaken significant reforms to ensure that ASIC has the resources and powers it needs to combat misconduct in the financial services industry and across all corporations for the protection of Australian consumers. This includes:
• injecting a further $70.1 million into ASIC to boost its enforcement capabilities and address other regulatory priorities, in addition to $121.3 million in additional funding in 2016 to bolster ASIC’s investigative and surveillance capabilities;
• the appointment of Daniel Crennan QC as a new Deputy Chair who has a key focus on enforcement action; and
• announcing the strengthening of criminal and civil penalties by increasing terms of imprisonment and fines, increasing the maximum civil penalties that can be imposed by courts and allowing wrongdoers to be stripped of profits illegally obtained, or losses avoided, from contraventions of the law.

These reforms support ASIC’s new Chair James Shipton’s approach to increase ASIC’s strategic direction on proactive enforcement and increase onsite supervisory approaches.

The Coalition Government thanks Mr Kell for his contribution to ASIC and wishes him well in his future endeavours.

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13 August 2018

Poverty rate twice as high in regional SA

New SACOSS figures show 7.1% of households below poverty line in Adelaide and 14.8% below line in rest of state

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