Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

New survey shines a light on Australians’ financial literacy

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon David Bradbury MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer

A new survey has found that more people feel they are in control of their finances, with a greater number of households saving on a regular basis in the wake of the GFC, said Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, David Bradbury.

Mr Bradbury today launched the ANZ Survey of Adult Financial Literacy in Australia 2011, which is the fourth such survey in a series that began in 2003. The results from the survey have helped policymakers and advocates track trends in people’s understanding of personal financial matters.

“I would like to congratulate ANZ for their work in preparing this survey,” said Mr Bradbury. “It continues to serve as a benchmark for all stakeholders working on improving the financial literacy of Australians.

“The Survey found that groups with lower levels of financial literacy include people younger than 25, women and households with incomes of less than $25,000 and savings and investments of less than $2,000.

“However, the Survey also found that, compared to the last Survey in 2008, more people felt in control of their finances and were trying to save on a regular basis, particularly in the aftermath of the GFC.

“Importantly, this year’s survey looks at a range of different behaviours to analyse how people approach their finances.

“This recognises that financial literacy is about more than just numeracy and understanding of financial products, but it is also about people’s attitudes and their perceptions of their ability to control their finances and plan ahead.

“Financial literacy is about empowering people to make informed decisions about their finances.

“Understanding more about your financial health can help you set goals, get on top of financial challenges and grow your wealth.

“Often the first steps are the hardest to take, but something as simple as working out a household budget can make a big difference.”

The Gillard Government has introduced a range of measures to boost the financial literacy of all Australians through the National Financial Literacy Strategy, including the MoneySmart website.

“MoneySmart, which has been visited by 1 million users since its launch earlier this year, has 26 online tools and smart phone apps to help you work out a budget, how much interest you are paying on your credit card or how long it will take to save for a holiday.”

The Gillard Government has also provided $10 million over three years to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) under the Helping Our Kids Understand Finance initiative to deliver face-to-face financial literacy training for more than 6,000 teachers as part of the new Australian Curriculum.

Parliamentary Secretary for Community Services, Julie Collins, said the Government was also investing in innovative programs that assist vulnerable households and encourage a greater awareness of personal finances.

“The Gillard Government has invested a further $171.9 million over four years in the recent Budget for emergency relief and financial counselling services, and for innovative projects such as no and low interest loans and matched savings schemes.

“This included $26 million for the Saver Plus matched savings scheme run by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and a range of community organisations, in partnership with ANZ.

“The Gillard Government is proud of the achievements of the Saver Plus program, which helps vulnerable Australians develop a savings habit and gain financial literacy.

“Participants of Saver Plus must complete the MoneyMinded financial education course, which was developed by ANZ, to receive their matched savings amount of up to $500.

“As the research released today suggests, financial education such as MoneyMinded can play an important role in enhancing people’s financial literacy as well as positively influencing people’s financial attitudes,” Ms Collins said.