Roads to Resilience wrapped up and reviewed
We delivered the 4th Financial Inclusion Conference – Roads to Resilience on 16+17 February 2022 at our Sydney venue and live online through our conference app. Thank you to our fantastic conference partners, sponsors, supporters and speakers for bringing this event to nearly 300 delegates.
Uncle Alan Madden welcomed delegates to Gadigal land and the Eora Nation. Jenni Beetson-Mortimer, CEO of Northern Rivers Community Gateway, Chair of the NSW Financial Inclusion Network and Dr Archana Voola, an academic researcher at the University of Western Sydney, welcomed delegates to set the state of play of financial inclusion, hardship and vulnerability.
It was a pleasure to have the Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC, NSW Minister for Families and Communities to open the conference. We also received support from The Hon. Anne Ruston MP, federal minister for Families and Social services, by way of a pre-recorded speech.
Our two full days of programming included a combination of over 60 speakers delivering their sessions in person, via Zoom and pre-record, with nearly 50 presentations, 4 keynote presentations, 3 panel discussions, official conference dinner and presentation of the second Financial Inclusion Awards.
Four keynote presentations including two insightful, international academics who provided parallels to the situation in Australia.
- Professor Sharon Collard of Bristol University (UK) gave her address which highlighted the UK’s state of play, and provided insight on the pandemic’s impact on financial inclusion, wealth inequality.
- Professor Wherry of Princeton University (USA) gave a very human and qualitative keynote around debt and dignity in America.
- We were enthralled to hear Dr Jeremiah Brown’s (Centre for Social Impact UNSW) keynote, which brought a theoretical perspective and systems theory approach to financial wellbeing.
- And to close the conference, Rev Tim Costello AO gave us the powerful message of how the gambling industry is undermining many roads to financial resilience.
- Our first panel discussion was Debt and Dignity – the Australian perspective. Dr Archana Voola moderated this discussion. Panelists included Professor Frederick Wherry (Princeton University, USA), Karen Cox (Financial Rights Legal Centre) Teresa Woods (Australian Banking Association) and Larisha Jerome (First Nations Foundation).
- Dr Jeremiah Brown facilitated a discussion titled Social Capital – what does it mean to be resilient? He was joined by Joanna Quilty (NCOSS), Fran Stead (Cowra information and Neighbourhood Centre), Jessica Davidson (St Vincent de Paul Society) and Jodie Wainwright (Milk Crate Theatre).
- Caroline Stewart (Ecstra Foundation) moderated our final panel discussion, titled Innovative approaches to building community financial capability. Caroline was joined by Effie Zahos (Canstar), Heather McLean-Thompson (Global Sisters) and Dare Kavanagh (Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand).
The conference aimed to explore financial inclusion and pathways to resilience. We wanted to further explore vulnerability and financial hardship.
The conversation now turns towards policy discussion. What have we learnt from the conference? How do we build on these foundations? The work of the NSW financial inclusion network will continue. We see the upcoming Australian federal election as an opportunity to highlight gaps in financial inclusion policy which the conference illuminated and also provided a platform for the FIN to put develop a policy agenda that addresses financial exclusion.