QCOSS attended the Financial Counsellor’s Association of Queensland (FCAQ) 2019 conference in early March. At the conference QCOSS’ Senior Manager for Policy, Advocacy and Capacity Laura Barnes spoke about QCOSS’ Living Affordability in Queensland report, which shows the challenges people face in making ends meet, especially for those reliant on Newstart and Youth allowances and minimum wages. The session included a workshop in which participants told their stories of supporting financial inclusion.
QCOSS Senior Project Officer Fiona Hawthorne (pictured) also chaired the Electric Avenue Energy 101 panel on 6 March with representatives from energy retailers, Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland, Department of Natural Resources, Mining and Energy (DNRME), Thriving Communities Partnership, and QCOSS Senior Policy Officer Rose McGrath. Retailers were asked about improvements to their hardship programs for people experiencing difficulty paying their bills. EWOQ revealed the complaints they receive from energy customers, Energy Queensland talked about their Financial Inclusion Action Plan. The government representatives spoke about state and federal policy changes. QCOSS spoke about what gaps are still left, even with hardship polices in place.