Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

New financial services for disadvantaged Australians

Australians excluded from mainstream banks and services will be assisted to access fair and appropriate financial products, including loans, under a $6.27 million Australian Government pilot launched today.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, launched the initiative at the Fitzroy and Carlton Community Co-operative in Melbourne.

The Co-operative is one of five community development finance institutions (CDFIs) across Australia that will be supported under the pilot project.

These institutions have all demonstrated a commitment to supporting vulnerable Australians to get access to financial services.

They provide individuals and organisations who are able to repay a loan but who are excluded from mainstream banks and services with access to safe and affordable credit.

They help ensure that people have access to fair credit that is appropriate for their means and reflects their ability to repay.

CDFIs typically cover their costs through, philanthropic and private investment, and Government assistance with running costs – bringing together government, business and the community.

Services like these can be an important stepping stone to mainstream financial services and financial independence.

Not only do they offer safe and trustworthy financial resources, they also provide practical financial literacy training and mentoring.

We want to help give people the skills and tools to help them access appropriate financial services and build their confidence in managing money.

The Pilot Project is part of the Government’s Financial Management Program, which provides $124.5 million a year to build financial resilience.

The five CDFIs being supported through the pilot program are Foresters Community Finance (QLD), Community Sector Banking (NSW, with consortium partners operating in WA, QLD, Vic, SA, Tas), Many Rivers Opportunities (NSW and WA), Fitzroy and Carlton Community Co-operative (Vic), and MoneyFast (nationwide coverage through the web).

Further information can be found at Financial Management Program