The Australian Government has committed $60.6 million over four years to support financial capability projects such as no and low interest loan schemes, financial literacy for Indigenous Australians and our matched savings program, Saver Plus.
Saver Plus, a matched savings and financial education program for people on low incomes, was developed in partnership with the Brotherhood of St Laurence. 86% of the program’s participants are women.
Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, said, “This new funding will ensure Saver Plus continues to support people on low incomes develop a long-term saving habit, helping them to better manage financial difficulty such as unexpected expenses or a sudden loss of income.”
Brotherhood of St Laurence CEO, Tony Nicholson said, “With its funding of Saver Plus, the Government has signaled its support for forms of assistance that build the capacities of the disadvantaged to manage their finances.
“The Budget’s commitment to Saver Plus means that personal support and savings incentives will be available in 60 communities in every State and Territory, reaching up to 10,000 people over the next 4 years,” Tony said.
ANZ Australia CEO, Phil Chronican said, “We welcome the new funding, which will help vulnerable and disadvantaged people in our community to build financial security. We are particularly pleased that the effectiveness of Saver Plus has again been recognised, with recurrent support provided for the program in the federal budget.”
New RMIT research, to be published soon, demonstrates that Saver Plus has a lasting impact on financial habits, with around 85% of Saver Plus participants continuing to save 2-3 years after completing the program.
The funding announced in the 2011 Federal Budget will also help expand delivery of the recently reviewed MoneyMinded program.
The 2010 MoneyMinded Summary Report involved a year long study of more than 300 disadvantaged youth and has shown that financial literacy education improves financial understanding and leads to behaviour change for youth-at-risk.
Launching the Report, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, David Bradbury said, “Many of the young people who received MoneyMinded financial literacy training through Mission Australia had very little income, high levels of debt and difficult personal circumstances.”
“After participating in various Mission Australia programs, where these young people were taught basic financial literacy skills based on MoneyMinded, they began to set goals for their own future, set their own budgets and better understand where to go for help and information,” David said.
Mission Australia CEO, Toby Hall, said that financial education played an important role in the various programs designed to transform the lives of young people at risk.
“The development of relevant financial skills empowered these young people to make positive choices that would significantly impact their adult lives,” Mr Hall said.
“It demonstrates financial literacy education changes the financial behaviour of youth at risk and plays a part in steering them towards a positive future.”
The Report also found that that MoneyMinded is the most widely used financial literacy program in Australia, reaching 125,000 people since 2005.
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