Our focus today is on the banking Royal Commission and the longer-term implications for financial services as well as financial counselling. You’ll also learn about what science can tell us about addictions, and how the banks are tackling problem gambling. And finally we’re trialling our short and sharp “taking the pulse” surveys – they’re a way of tapping into the wisdom of the financial counselling sector.

7.00 am

Rise and Shine Yoga.

Beginners welcome. You just need to be able to breathe. 50 minutes

9.00 am

Welcome to the Curiosity Conference

Why is it important to be curious? Meet David Tennant, our Master of Ceremonies. He’ll explain why.   

  • Welcome to Country

We are meeting on the lands of the  Boonwurrung people and pay our respects to their elders, past, present and emerging.

  • Welcome to Conference

Carmel Franklin, Chair, FCA

7.00 am to 7.50 am: Rise and Shine Yoga (beginners welcome. You just need to be able to breathe)

9.30 am

Keynote Address | Speaking truth to power 


Peter Greste

UNESCO Chair in Journalism, University of Queensland


Award winning journalist Peter Greste was working on story in Egypt when he was arrested, charged with terrorism offences and imprisoned. He became a human headline. Letters smuggled from prison helped launch a global campaign that eventually saw Peter and his fellow journalists released after more than 400 days. Peter knows all about talking truth to power, and he has become a vocal advocate for media freedom. 

In financial counselling, we also talk truth to power. Peter Greste, what can we learn?

10.00 am

Update from the ACCC

Delia Rickard

Deputy Chair, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Delia is in the news weekly, warning us about scams, unsafe products, and announcing the ACCC’s progress in taking businesses to court over misleading conduct. We’re curious Delia … what do you know that we don’t?

10.10 am

After the Royal Commission

It ran for 400 days, heard from 130 witnesses, received 10,000 submissions and made 76 recommendations. The Banking Royal Commission is over. What happens next? 


Gerard Brody
Chief Executive, Consumer Action

Chris Cuppitt
Executive Director, Policy, ABA

David Locke

James Shipton
Chair, ASIC

Facilitated by Fiona Guthrie

11.00 am | Morning Tea


Visi, the Un-conference Cafe and the Exhibitor Zone. So much happening. And eat, greet and chat.

11.30 am

Royal Commission and First Nations Peoples, and ... we want to tell you a story.

Lynda Edwards, Mark Holden, Kaylee Anderson, Unaise Buli and Nathan Boyle

This session puts the spotlight on five stories involving the Royal Commission: identification, sorry business, up-selling, and crossing rivers to do your banking. 


12.00 noon

FCA’s Curious Update

Fiona Guthrie
CEO, Financial Counselling Australia

Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "One can't believe impossible things." "I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." (Alice In Wonderland)


Impossible things happen every day. Hear about funding, the impact of FCA’s Day in the Life program, and more.

12.30 pm

Taking the pulse

At this conference, you’re the experts, and we need your wisdom. We’ll be ‘taking the pulse’ in three quick live polls, each with three questions.


The results will be published live on the big screens (and post conference we'll publish mini-reports).


Your homework: think about what you’re seeing in the energy space, buy now pay later, and how you're travelling with workplace trauma.

1.00 pm | Lunch

2.00 pm

Concurrent Sessions

Lots of sessions to choose from.

3.30 pm | Afternoon Tea

Visit the Un-conference Cafe and the Exhibitor Zone. So much happening. And eat, greet and chat.

4.00 pm

What are the odds? Banks and problem gambling

The Royal Commission played a recording of David Harris, a person who had self-identified as having issues with gambling, literally begging his bank not to give him more credit. They did.

We’re inviting the banks to share what they have learnt, what they’re doing to mitigate gambling harm related to credit, and what is in the offering to help their customers who gamble.

Commonwealth Bank, Brendan French 

Westpac, Siobhan Toohill

NAB, Campbell Morrison

ANZ,  Karl Hoffman 

Australian Banking Association, Christine Cupitt 

Chair, Lauren Levin

4.30 pm

Curious minds. Can we break the habit of addictions and compulsive behaviours?

Prof. Murat Yucel

BrainPark, Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences (MICCN) Monash University

Professor Yucel is at the cutting edge of addiction neuroscience and how new technological frontiers can help to understand, diagnose and treat addictions. He heads up Monash Brain Park, a new centre studying compulsive behaviours. Clients can’t always tell us what drives them to develop and feed their behaviours, but their brains can. 

This session has big questions.


What can the brain tell us about what drives an individual’s addiction?

What works to help people change habits and reduce urges? How does stress contribute to brain health, and can brain fitness really help? Should we be discussing brain fitness, and budgeting for yoga and mindfulness training as part of financial counselling?

Professor Yucel shares his enthusiasm for finding new ways to treat addictions from a neuroscience and technology perspective using therapeutic virtual reality, mindfulness and more things we can easily do in our own homes or heads. Prof. Yucel is one of publishing company Thompson Reuters ‘Most Highly Cited’ authors. This means that his research is in the top 1% of the world’s most influential scientific work.

5.00 pm | End of day

Relax, walk round the lake, get dressed up for a 'very Melbourne' Jan Pentland dinner. Dress (semi-formal)

7.00 pm

Jan Pentland Conference Dinner

Drinks at 7pm for 7.15pm sit-down dinner.