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Delia Rickard joins AFCA board

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Delia Rickard joins AFCA board

AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL COMPLAINTS AUTHORITY

Delia Rickard, who is joining the AFCA Board

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) today announced the appointment of outgoing ACCC Deputy Chair Ms Delia Rickard to its board. Her appointment, for three years, is effective from 1 August 2022.

“Ms Rickard brings to the board a wide range of skills from a distinguished public service career in consumer policy. She has a deep understanding of the current and emerging challenges facing consumers and financial firms,” AFCA Independent Chair Professor John Pollaers OAM said when announcing the appointment today.

“We will also benefit from her insight into financial inclusion, as we seek to ensure all Australians have access to our ombuds service.

“The AFCA Board is made up of an independent and expert group of Directors holding extensive financial services industry and consumer experience and brings a breadth of knowledge operating across multi-dimensional and highly complex industries. The Board is committed to ensuring that AFCA continues be an effective external dispute resolution scheme for financial services, with a focus on efficiency and customer service, and providing clear member and community value.

“Ms Rickard’s deep knowledge and expertise in the consumer space will ensure AFCA continues to deliver against these goals and keeps an essential focus on ensuring consumer accessibility and inclusion.”

Ms Rickard has been Deputy Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) since June 2012. She has extensive public service experience and a passion for consumer protection, and has worked in a variety of senior roles, primarily at the ACCC and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). She is also an Associate Member of the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

“Throughout her illustrious career, Ms Rickard has had a strong interest in financial services and the impact of the financial services industry on vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers. She oversaw development of the highly regarded Moneysmart website at ASIC, and has been a member of numerous committees at the ACCC, including those on the consumer data right, enforcement and compliance, and product safety. And she also chaired the ACCC’s market study into the cost of insurance in Northern Australia,” Prof. Pollaers noted.

Ms Rickard is also a trustee of the Jan Pentland Foundation, which provides scholarships for those who want to work as financial counsellors, and is the Chair of Good Shepherd’s Advisory Committee on Financial Inclusion Action Plans.

Ms Rickard was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2011 for her contribution to consumer protection and financial services. She has also been awarded the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals Lifetime Achievement Award and was recently announced as the inaugural winner of the Law Council of Australia’s Consumer Rights Award.

Ms Rickard said: “AFCA plays a vital role in protecting consumers and in helping the financial services sector deliver the best possible service to its customers. I look forward to contributing to an organisation with such a strong sense of purpose, one that is having a real impact for consumers and the financial services sector.”

 

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Ballina News

Ballina gets ‘beefed’ up with new pie shop in town

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Beefy’s Pies Ballina

Ballina gets ‘beefed’ up with new pie shop in town

 

By Samantha Elley

If you’ve been wondering about the new store on River Street in Ballina, wonder no further.

Beefy’s Pies have made their way down from the Sunshine Coast ready to fill the bellies of Northern Rivers locals.

These award winning pies have crossed the border, opening its first NSW store at 166-172 River Street, Ballina.

“We’re excited to receive a warm welcome from the Ballina and Northern Rivers community so far and can’t wait to have everyone in store to taste the Beefy’s difference,” says Jason Lyons, General Manager – Operations at Beefy’s.

“Beefy’s will bring its full range of award-wining pies, sausage rolls, sweets and coffee to the Northern Rivers community, making it a go-to destination for travellers and locals alike.

“Our new Ballina team can’t wait to get to know everyone by name, pie and coffee order. Our opening weekend is the best way to kick this off, but we’ll be teaming up with the local community to support businesses, events and groups in the future with our Pie Drives and fundraising events.”

While the store opened its doors on Friday, 28th June, the official Beefy’s Ballina community launch is Friday 12th to Sunday 14th July with one-weekend only deals and children’s entertainment on offer.

Ballina is Beefy’s 10th store and the first in in New South Wales. It joins locations across South-East Queensland including Gympie, Traveston, Maroochydore, Buderim, Kawana, Aussie World, Glasshouse, Mango Hill and Ningi.

 

For more local Ballina news, click here.

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Business News

Two-in-five Australians set to shop the End of Financial Year sales

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a person online shopping for End of Financial Year sales

Two-in-five Australians set to shop the End of Financial Year sales

 

New research from PayPal reveals that two-in-five (38%) Australians plan to shop during the End of Financial Year (EOFY) sales, but not predominantly for traditional tax-deductible work expenses. Instead, a significant portion of shoppers will be focusing on personal items such as clothing or fashion (51%), electronics (31%), homewares and garden items (26%), and health and beauty products (12%).

The current economic climate is a major factor influencing this broader bargain-hunting behaviour. More than half (52%) of Australians believe that online sales can help them manage cost-of-living pressures. Reflecting this sentiment, two-in-five (42%) will shop the EOFY sales online rather than in-store, driven by the convenience of price comparisons and the perception of better deals online.

“As the cost-of-living crisis continues, it’s clear that Australians are eager to save money whenever and wherever they can, looking to online sales events to help reduce spending,” said PayPal Consumer Shopping Expert Bonnie Brady. She advises that while sales can be an excellent opportunity to save on necessary items, planning purchases and setting budgets are crucial to avoid impulse buying and overspending.

However, the shift towards online shopping comes with increased security concerns. A substantial majority of Australians (93%) are worried about online security, with scams becoming more sophisticated and harder to recognise. This concern has grown over the past year, with two-in-five (40%) Australians more worried about online security than before.

Despite these concerns, there is a strong awareness of online security measures among Australians. About 84% feel confident in their understanding of how to protect themselves against scams, and 99% are familiar with key online safety techniques such as using complex passwords (87%), diversifying passwords (76%), and avoiding links in text messages (76%). Additionally, four-in-five (84%) prefer to use secure payment options like PayPal when shopping online.

Unfortunately, heightened vigilance against scams has led to some disruptions in legitimate activities. For example, 87% of Australians avoid phone calls from unknown numbers due to scam fears, and 15% have missed a genuine payment assuming it was fraudulent.

Bonnie Brady emphasises the importance of staying informed about online safety: “The convenience of online shopping has never been more popular, but we must all do the work to learn how to stay safe online, and to keep that understanding up as new threats emerge. The protective steps that each of us can take are simple and often free, but no one can take them for us.”

To help consumers shop safely and smartly during the EOFY sales, PayPal offers the following tips:

  1. Plan purchases: Make a list and budget before shopping to avoid impulse buys.
  2. Scrutinise suspicious sites: Look out for fake retail sites by checking for anomalies and verifying URLs.
  3. Check reviews: Look up online reviews to avoid fraudulent sellers.
  4. Understand return options: Ensure the retailer has a reasonable return policy.
  5. Compare prices in real time: Use tools like PayPal Honey to find the best deals and apply discount codes automatically.
  6. Keep financial details safe: Use secure payment methods like PayPal to protect your information.

These strategies can help Australians make the most of the EOFY sales while staying safe and within budget.

 

For more business news, click here.

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Business News

Builders Respond to NSW Budget

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NSW Budget Builders

Builders Respond to NSW Budget

 

Today’s NSW Budget offers significant measures to address supply barriers in the new home building sector, according to Master Builders Association of NSW Executive Director Brian Seidler.

Housing

“Treasurer Daniel Mookhey has appropriately placed housing at the heart of the budget, acknowledging that building the necessary homes and infrastructure is essential to tackling broader economic and cost-of-living challenges,” said Mr. Seidler.

Key Housing Initiatives:

  • Speeding Up Development Approvals: Measures to expedite development approvals will reduce build costs and address delays in planning, which have historically extended build times.
  • Investment in Social and Affordable Housing: A record investment in social and affordable housing aims to address the critical undersupply for vulnerable populations.
  • Release of Government Land: The release of government land for both government and private home building is a long-advocated measure by Master Builders.
  • Build-to-Rent Projects: These projects are welcomed as they diversify the NSW housing market and make rental accommodation more affordable.
  • Higher Density Construction: With construction times increasing from an average of 22 months to over 30 months over the last decade, accelerating build times is crucial. The focus will be on overcoming labour shortages, low productivity, and delays in other approvals such as occupation certificates.

Business Support

“Building and construction businesses have faced rising operating costs and increased project risks for several years, with many struggling to stay afloat. Over 98% of the industry is comprised of small businesses, which are currently facing significant challenges,” said Mr. Seidler. He emphasized that a strong building and construction industry is vital for the economy, noting that every dollar invested in the industry returns three dollars to the economy.

Skills and Training

“Workforce shortages are a significant barrier to the building and construction industry, which loses 8% of its workforce annually, replacing only about half of those lost. Growing our domestic workforce is crucial,” stated Mr. Seidler.

Key Skills and Training Measures:

  • Fee-Free Training: The budget includes additional places for fee-free training, particularly targeting construction apprenticeships.
  • Industry-Led Training Organisations: There is a call for better support for vocational education and training providers outside of TAFE, emphasizing the role of industry-led registered training organisations and group training organisations in delivering this training.

Infrastructure

The Master Builders Association welcomes additional investments in transport and education projects, including upgrades to roads around the new Western Sydney airport. “As we build more homes, it’s crucial to have supporting infrastructure like roads, hospitals, and schools to support growing communities,” Mr. Seidler said.

Building Commission

“We welcome additional funding for the NSW Building Commission to enforce regulations and eliminate bad building practices,” said Mr. Seidler. The Master Builders Association has long supported an industry-specific building commission to ensure high standards in construction projects, meeting community expectations.

In summary, today’s NSW Budget introduces several positive measures that aim to enhance the building and construction industry’s ability to meet housing targets, support small businesses, address skills shortages, and ensure robust infrastructure development.

 

For more business news, click here.

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