Rural Financial Counselling Services (RFCS) across Victoria and Tasmania have come together to expand on ways to help farm and small business owners in rural and regional communities as the cost of living continues to rise.
More than 50 financial counsellors and wellbeing counsellors from RFCS Victoria West, RFCS Gippsland, RFCS Victoria North East, Rural Business Tasmania and representatives from Agriculture Victoria attended the Social Connection Training Conference in Melbourne recently.
It was a poignant conference based around how each not-for-profit service could better support their communities as the ripple effects of fire, flood, drought, inflation and COVID continues to impact.
A range of topics were covered including windfall tax, succession planning, negotiation skills, insurance claims and advanced techniques for wellbeing counsellors in dealing with clients.
RFCS Victoria West Executive Officer David Stafford, the host of the conference for 2023, said the past few years have highlighted the importance of social connection and quality service delivery.
“Our clients rely on us to provide the most up to date and relevant services in an ever-changing environment,” he said.
“Conferences like this provide opportunities for us to build on our experience and knowledge base and to feed a passion that is unique to not-for-profit organisations offering free service and support like ours.
“In the same week as the lights went out at the Gabba during an AFL match, many Victorian primary producers and rural small businesses are struggling to keep their own lights on. A succession of extreme weather events, COVID repercussions, fuel price hikes and interest rate rises has created financial and mental health concerns across the State, and it’s our job to help consider and present options to ease the pain for our clients.”