Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Helping students with financial skills for life after school

The Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins, today met with teenagers in Launceston at the innovative enterprise Studentworks, which is promoting the importance of financial literacy and money management skills.

“This local Tasmanian enterprise is doing great work in helping young people develop the financial literacy skills to successfully adapt to life after school,” Ms Collins said.

“Studentworks is promoting the kinds of community financial skills and competence the Australian Government is passionate about.

“This Government is committed to improving the financial capability particularly of vulnerable Australians and we are a providing $393 million over three years to programs that are helping them build their financial resilience and wellbeing.”

The Studentworks visit also included a presentation by the Smith Family on Saver Plus – a matched savings and financial education program for low-income Australians.

Saver Plus is an initiative of the Brotherhood of St Laurence and ANZ and is funded by the Australian Government and ANZ. It offers people who meet their savings goal with matched savings up to $500.

“The Australian Government is providing $19.5 million over three years for Saver Plus – which aims to help people reach their savings goals sooner, while improving their financial capability,” Ms Collins said.

Key findings of last year’s Saver Plus evaluation report (Evaluation of Saver Plus past participants 2011) were:

  • 82.1 per cent of Saver Plus participants felt they had more control over their finances because of Saver Plus
  • 86.6 per cent of Saver Plus participants who were enrolled in the program between 2006 and 2009 are saving the same amount or more since completing Saver Plus
  • 80.9 per cent of respondents were better able to cope with unexpected expenses than they were before Saver Plus

“The Australian Government also supports no interest or low-interest loan programs – and these have now passed the milestone of helping 50,000 Australians under financial stress,” Ms Collins said.

“The No Interest Loans Scheme helps low-income earners buy household necessities like refrigerators and washing machines at zero per cent interest over a comfortable repayment period.

“We are continuing to support the No Interest Loans Scheme by investing a further $37.5 million over three years in the program.

“Our Budget commitment of $393 million over three years to our Financial Management Program also includes funding to emergency relief, financial counselling, money management education and the Home Energy Saver Scheme.

“A total of $8.7 million is allocated to Tasmania over three years under the Financial Management Program.

“Programs such as these give low income earners the practical means to get back on their feet and are making a real difference in people’s lives,” Ms Collins said.