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Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Indigenous Family Income Management (FIM) program opens in Cooktown

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, today opened a new Family Income Management site in Cooktown, which he said would help Indigenous families better manage their income and create more opportunities for their kids.

“The Financial Income Management (FIM) programme has gone from strength to strength since its beginning in 2001,” Mr Brough said.

“FIM is now delivered to eight communities across six sites in the Cape York and provides support for about 700 Indigenous people, Mr Brough said.”

“This programme has been working so well on the Cape that last year the Government committed to fund it for another four years.”

Mr Brough said overall the Government had committed $16.6million over four years to support the continuation of the first five sites on the Cape and to fund two new sites, the first of which is Cooktown and to support other family and financial management programmes in the NT and WA.

“FIM is a great example of partners working together to help Indigenous Australians,” Mr Brough said.

“The support of Westpac is particularly welcome. Westpac has been involved since 2001 and through short-term secondments more than 90 staff have cumulatively provided eight years full time equivalent work to support the programme, particularly in developing local staff.

“I congratulate Westpac on recognising the importance of increasing financial literacy to help indigenous people – and entire communities – achieve their financial goals for the future.”

Mr Brough said there were many examples of the benefits of FIM on the Cape.

“FIM is opening up new opportunities for Indigenous people,” the Minister said.

“There are examples of indigenous people using FIM to help them save for a home, while others have used it to help manage rent payments and meet the costs of private schooling for kids.

“The importance of financial literacy to these communities cannot be understated. It is a fundamental plank to helping build the independence of individuals and communities which can then be used to help deliver better outcomes in housing, health and education.

“Most importantly, financial literacy gives people hope for the future. A means to achieve their goals and objectives for themselves and their kids.”

“FIM is operating in schools at Coen, Aurukun and Mossman Gorge and is working with schools at the other sites to develop programs to teach Indigenous children financial literacy.

“In Aurukun, one couple used FIM to help save for the wedding they wanted to have – complete with cars, white gown, flowers and rings. It was the first wedding in Aurukun in a decade.”

Mr Brough acknowledged the continued support of Cape York Partnerships to FIM.

“Without all parties; the Howard Government, Cape York Partnerships and Westpac, working towards the same goal, the results and benefits from FIM would not have been achievable,” Mr Brough said.