Get out of debt swamp
We can work it out: FMC executive manager Graeme Westaway, left, and Dunkley Liberal MP Bruce Billson at the launch of the financial first aid app in Frankston. Picture: Andrew Lloyd
Roadside resting: A record will be made of all creatures within the Western Port Biosphere area for one week during October. These tawny frogmouths while away the daylight hours in a tree overhanging a road. Picture: Keith Platt
HELP is at hand for those who feel they are drowning in mounting debt. A new website and mobile phone app launched late last month to offer free financial guidance can be the first step to put consumers back in charge of their finances. The financialfirstaid.org.au site is the brainchild of FMC Mediation and Counselling Victoria, a not-for-profit provider of federal government-funded family and community programs. The online site and app provides access to information split into three categories: ‘I need help right now’, ‘I need to understand’ and ‘I want to know more’. Easy-to-read information about how to recover from financial stress and possibly book a free appointment with an FMC financial counsellor to work through a solution could be a gateway to a better life free of debt worries. The CEO of FMC, Kim O’Neill, said the organisation’s financial counsellors understand people can find themselves
Counting on all creatures, great and small AN unusual census is being organised by the Western Port Biosphere. Schools, community groups and individuals are being asked to record sightings of animals, birds, reptiles, plants and insects for one week next month. The 2142 square kilometre biosphere covers the municipalities of Frankston, Mornington Peninsula, Casey, Cardinia and Bass Coast as well as French Island. The Lifesearch program – “citizen science in action” – is designed to increase knowledge about biodiversity within the biosphere and how to manage and protect it for the future. The Western Port Biosphere contains national and marine parks, rural agriculture and urban-growth areas and its flora and fauna – includ-
ing breeding colonies of the little penguins, koalas, Australian fur seal and short-tailed shearwaters (mutton birds) – are seen as major draw cards for visitors. The biosphere is also home to rare, threatened and vulnerable species such as the endangered southern brown bandicoot and hooded plover. Western Port is listed under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance as habitat for migratory species under the Ramsar Convention. The biosphere - designated in 2002 under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program - is seeking expressions of interest for up to five honorary positions on its board with the terms of half the current board members expiring in November.
Candidates should have experience in environment or natural resources, strategic or business planning, tourism, communications, marketing, or financial management. The Board also wants to hear from people with experience in not-forprofit administration and governance, community engagement, education and research, commercial law, arts and culture. The biosphere’s role is to “foster conservation and sustainable development by facilitating partnerships to create an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable future for Western Port”. Applications for board membership close 15 September. Details: www. biosphere.org.au
in financial strife for many reasons such as unemployment or serious illness. “Our new website and financial counselling and capability service offers consumers a 24-hour action-based online financial support and easy to access information,” Ms O’Neill said. “Our model and website provides consumers with financial counselling, education and support. Our aim is to empower people to take back control of their money and lives”. FMC notes Australian household debt has grown during a period of rising property prices and increasing unemployment, Australian Bureau of Statistics data reveals household debt has increased nearly twice as fast as the value of household assets over the past 25 years. Moorabbin based FMC recently opened it latest office at 146 Young St, Frankston. See financialfirstaid.org.au or call 1800 639 523 for further information.
Green living options on show at The Briars FOR more than a decade, Sustainable House Day has allowed thousands to visit leading “green” homes that are environmentally friendly, cheap to run and comfortable to live in. Visitors to Mornington Peninsula Shire’s Eco Living Display Centre on Sunday 13 September can get inspiration and ideas, see sustainable upgrades and take part in workshops “Going Solar” and “Create a sustainable home”. The centre, at The Briars, Mt
Martha, is retrofitted to display a range of sustainable ideas, including solar passive design, thermal mass, solar power and wind power, solar hot water, ventilation and devices to save “stand-by” power. The centre will show a range of options for insulation, window coverings, glazing, energy-efficient lighting and appliances and water-efficiency measures. The garden has a range of rainwater tanks, drip-fed irrigation, compost
Neptours Phone: 5981 1277
www.neptours.com.au PAGE 12
Mornington News 1 September 2015
home. Discover energy efficient products, including heating and cooling systems, windows and building materials. Bookings essential, 5987 3078. Cost $15. Free tours of the Eco Centre 10am3pm. The Briars Eco Living Display Centre is at 450 Nepean Highway, Mt Martha. Details: mornpen.vic.gov.au; sustainablehouseday.com for other open houses.
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WHAT’S ON AT NEPTOURS RUSSIAN HERMITAGE *CROWN CASINO – MONTHLY* Casino’s bus program with a EXHIBITION great BUFFET lunch (all) $35. Tues 20 Oct (a) $60 (p/s) $55 Only p/p over the age of GEORGIE GIRL 18 permitted. Her Majesty’s LAST THURSDAY EACH MTH Wed 16 Dec (numbers permitting) (a) $110 (p/s) $100 QUEEN VICTORIA MARKET CATS - REGENT THEATRE Tue 13 Oct ’15 - all $30. Wed 13 Jan 2016 Shop for all the bargains we do not have down here. (a) $130 (p/s) $120 We even supply a couple SINGING IN THE RAIN of Eskys for some of your Wed 18 May 2016 perishables. (a) $125 (p/s) $115 BAW BAW KINKY BOOTS 2016 GARDEN & HOME EXPO Expressions of interest sought Sat 10 Oct All $60
and a worm farm, raingarden, no-dig garden beds and wicking beds. Workshops: Going solar - 10am-noon. Find out about generating power from the sun. Learn about different solar power and solar hot water systems, potential energy savings and options for managing your power. Bookings essential, 5987 3078. The cost is $15. Create a sustainable home 1-2.30pm. Learn about the most sustainable building choices for your
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Mornington News 1 September 2015