Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Helping families reach their savings goals

More than 3200 Australians have used the Saver Plus program over the past 18 months to save for their children’s or their own education, and the vast majority were women.

The Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins, said the Gillard Government invested $27.1 million over four years in the recent Budget for Saver Plus, as part of its support for Australians experiencing financial stress.

“The Saver Plus program is proving to be a real success, with more than 3200 people completing the program from July 2010 to December 2011 – and more than 88 per cent of them were women,” Ms Collins said.

“Saver Plus provides people with financial education and gives them an incentive to save for the education costs of either themselves or their children.

“We expect just over 14,000 people will take advantage of the program by 2014.”

Developed by Brotherhood of St Laurence and ANZ, Saver Plus is delivered in 61 locations across Australia in partnership with community organisations including Berry Street, The Benevolent Society and The Smith Family. The program is funded by the Government and ANZ.

“The program has a real focus on financial self-reliance because it provides solid budgeting education,” Ms Collins said.

“There is also a real incentive to save, as every dollar becomes two dollars in the bank.

“The most popular items over the past 18 months were computers and laptops, school uniforms and shoes, school books and stationary and camps and excursions.

“A report by RMIT University released in September 2011 showed that 87 per cent of people who participated in the program between 2006 and 2009 are still saving the same amount or more than they did while in the program.

“That is a great achievement and I look forward to seeing more of these success stories in the future.

“The Gillard Government will continue to work with community organisations, such as the Brotherhood of St Laurence, and the corporate sector to help the most disadvantaged Australians.

“We have invested $438.7 million over four years for Financial Management Programs, which help people overcome financial adversity, manage their money, participate in their communities, and plan for the future.

“In the last financial year alone, this program helped more than a million people with emergency relief, no interest loans, savings support, and financial counselling.”

Participants who completed Saver Plus between July 2010 – December 2011:

ACT 44
NSW 971
NT 4
QLD 569
SA 186
TAS 207
VIC 1204
WA 82
Total 3267