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ICAN & Commonwealth Bank join forces to tackle indigenous financial literacy in QLD

10 April 2006

The Commonwealth Bank and Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network (ICAN) have announced a financial literacy and community education program to be implemented across 20 remote indigenous communities in Queensland.

Kowanyama, Pormpuraaw, Mapoon, Mornington, Doomadgee and Napranum will be the first Communities to benefit from the training and education program to be rolled out in August and be finalised by 2008.

"The Commonwealth Bank is dedicated to improving financial literacy and education levels for all Australians across all stages of life. This program is further testament to our ongoing commitment to financial literacy," said Commonwealth Bank Area Manager – Far North Queensland, Mr Peter Harm.

The campaign will include the development of a Personal Finance and Consumer Assistance training program to teach community service providers how to assist and educate indigenous communities about financial issues.

Aaron Davis, ICAN Program Manager, said Indigenous people living in remote communities across Queensland are some of the most vulnerable consumers in Australia.

"ICAN research carried out across Queensland over the past six years has identified financial literacy as a predominant cause of consumer disadvantage, and we have received many requests from remote indigenous communities asking us to help them tackle financial and consumer literacy training."

"This program will address issues surrounding money and debt management, poor consumer choices, and ineffective use of financial services to enable Indigenous people to take control of their money and make informed decisions."

The ICAN training project will encompass the following key areas:

  • Development of a personal finance and consumer assistance package;
  • Delivery of the package to the 20 indigenous communities;
  • Recruitment of a dedicated trainer to deliver the package;
  • Development of a financial literacy classroom activity package for indigenous school children.
  • According to Mr Davis, a number of requests have been received from remote indigenous communities to tackle financial and consumer literacy training.

"Through this program, ICAN is able to move forward with these requests and provide greater service to Indigenous consumers nationwide."

"We welcome the partnership because it is never too late to provide financial and consumer literacy skills for Indigenous people. Consumer matters affect all our lives and need constant attention," added Mr Davis.

"If the financial and consumer literacy levels of Indigenous people aren’t addressed, we will see this cultural and communication gap continue to grow exponentially.

The Commonwealth Bank has a strong track record in delivering valuable indigenous education and financial literacy programs in Australia.

The Commonwealth Bank’s Caritas program in western NSW is an example of the Bank’s commitment to assisting indigenous Australian’s with financial literacy and education. The Bank also offers an Indigenous employment program.

Mr Harm said the ICAN program will have a great impact for local indigenous communities.

"This program can assist in addressing indigenous financial literacy issues in Queensland and will be of great benefit to local indigenous communities."

ICAN will commence a recruitment campaign to procure a program trainer this month.

For more information, contact ICAN: Suite 6, 7 Anderson Street Manunda (Cairns) or phone: 1300 369 878 (local call cost anywhere in Australia).

ENDS

For media enquiry, please phone:

Steve Batten
Media Adviser, Media and Issues Management
Commonwealth Bank
Phone: (02) 9378 2504
Mob: 0411 080 268
Email: steve.batten@cba.com.au

Notes to Editors:

The Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network (ICAN) provides consumer advice and assistance to Indigenous consumers across Australia. The network has an active steering committee with representatives from: the ICAN project, Queensland Office of Fair Trading, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

The Commonwealth Bank/ICAN program will be rolled out across 20 remote indigenous communities, primarily in Far North Queensland including:

  • Bamaga
  • Seisa
  • New Mapoon
  • Injinoo
  • Umagico
  • Hopevale
  • Wujal Wujal
  • Lockhart River
  • Yarrbah
  • Mapoon
  • Napranum
  • Mornington Island
  • Kowanyama
  • Pormpuraaw
  • Domadgee
  • Cherbourg
  • Woorabinda
  • Palm Island
  • Thursday Island
  • Horn Island

The program will include the development of a personal finance and consumer assistance package; delivery of the package to the 20 indigenous communities; recruitment of a dedicated trainer to deliver the package and Development of a financial literacy classroom activity package for indigenous school children.

For more information contact ICAN: Suite 6, 7 Anderson Street Manunda Cairns QLD 4870
P.O. Box 994N North Cairns QLD 4870
Phone: 1300 369 878 (local call cost anywhere in Australia)
Fax: 07 4040 4556
Email: info@ican.org.au