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Message from Chairman Brian Carter re Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

March 25th 2020

During these unprecedented times, the AICR reminds the industry to ensure we pay particular attention to ensuring ethical and sensitive debt recovery practices. These are very stressful times. Increasing numbers of families and individuals face very precarious financial futures. I urge our industry to be mindful of this as we go about our work. As always, we should be acting with compassion and understanding.  

Large corporations including airlines, education bodies and tourism businesses are being forced to lay off staff. Small businesses, particularly in entertainment and hospitality are also dealing with similar pressure. This means it is increasingly likely that rates of debt and the inability to service debts, will rise.  

Now more than ever, practitioners need to think carefully about the way we approach people, and be even more sensitive to their situations. 

The AICR has always maintained that it is paramount that no one is ever harassed to pay a debt, particularly those who might be coping with financial hardship.  

Many organisations offer flexible repayment arrangements for those experiencing difficulty. All practitioners should be mindful of making these options known when dealing with debt recovery. Financial counsellors should also be recommended.   

It is widely accepted by debt recovery professionals that legal action should not be instigated against a person who has established that they are in genuine financial hardship. Litigation is always a last resort, particularly in these times.   

On a practical note, information about working with increased hygiene provisions and instructions on hand washing have been widely published. The best source of information and updates is the Australian government health website: https://www.health.gov.au/.

We are all in this together and only together can we get through it. 

Brian Carter,
Chairman