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FSC launches indigenous financial literacy project

The Financial Services Council (FSC) has teamed up with indigenous rights group First Nations Foundation (FNF) to improve the financial literacy of indigenous Australians.

The FSC pointed to a 2012 report by the Centre for Social Impact that found 43.1 per cent of indigenous Australians were severely or fully socially excluded, compared to 17.2 per cent of Australians overall.

“Access to appropriate and affordable financial products and services such as a transaction account, insurance and a moderate amount of credit can make a significant difference," FSC chief executive John Brogden said.

Under the three-year agreement the FSC will provide funds and resources to the FNF to help expand its adult financial literacy program, My Moola, which looks to improve employee retention and personal finance skills. That will include a minimum of $50,000 per year, and there will be the option of renewing the partnership after the three years, Mr Brogden said.

FNF chair Paul Briggs said confidence in and knowledge of financial products and the financial system helps individuals manage a budget, plan a career, run a budget and build savings.

“Our vision is for an Australia in which aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are valuing their unique and integral contribution to Australia’s nationhood, have economic prosperity, a vision for money management, careers and jobs, and a strong sense of emotional and spiritual wellbeing,” he added.

FNF chief executive Trevor Pearce said many Australians can relate to the concept of being the first person in their family to obtain a degree, but some indigenous people are the first person in their family to enter the workforce.


“Through the First Nations Foundation program we are witnessing people transition from inter-generational dependency on welfare, mums returning into the workforce and young people getting their first part-time job, and in some cases, to huge salaries from the resources industry," he said.

"It is well documented that aboriginal people have had a negative relationship with financial services" as well as "a high level of vulnerability", Mr Pearce said.