Article by Jirra Lulla Harvey
The national roll out of the My Moola Indigenous financial literacy program was launched today at the Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne, as a part of the inaugural National Money Smart Week. Money Smart Week is an initiative that brings together organisations from the business, community and government sectors to promote the importance of financial literacy. Knowing how to make sound money decisions is a core skill in today’s world. For Indigenous Australian’s closing the gap in critical areas of financial and economic participation is a key to improved health, employment and education outcomes.
The First Nations Foundation’s My Moola program is an adult financial literacy program for members of Indigenous communities.
“We need to identify what we want our future to look like, in order to feel safe, to feel connected and to have a sense of ownership and control over our destiny,” says Paul Briggs, Chair of First Nations Foundation. “Our vision is for an Australia in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are valuing their unique and integral contribution to Australia’s nationhood, have economic prosperity, a vision for money management, careers and jobs, and a strong sense of emotional and spiritual wellbeing,” says Briggs.
My Moola is an interactive 10 week life skills program. Workshops include: goal setting; overcoming barriers to success; making money stretch past payday; planning to win; looking after my future; internet and phone banking; credit can be a wealth hazard; money loans, sharks and traps; sharing my vision and reflection. The national roll out of My Moola has been supported by Rio Tinto and the Federal Government through the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).
With the growth of Indigenous employment programs nationally in the resource, retail, transport and hospitality sectors, Indigenous Australians are experiencing major social, cultural and economic adjustments. More and more employers of Indigenous Australians are understanding that to effect true change means going beyond just providing someone with a job. My Moola was developed in 2007 through a partnership between First Nations Foundation and ANZ under a collective commitment to improving the financial inclusion of Indigenous Australians. It has been piloted in the culturally strong Aboriginal community of the Goulburn Valley region of Victoria, with particular support from the Portland House Foundation.
“My Moola is a great program because it really values community engagement. Aboriginal consumers are dealing with many complex financial products, like credit, superannuation and insurance, and the more information we can get, the better,” said Robynne Quiggin, Senior Manager of Indigenous Outreach Program ASIC. “But the information has to be delivered in a way that’s relevant and suited to our needs. That’s My Moola’s strength – working closely with their client base to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and promote financial inclusion,” said Ms Quiggin.
The national rollout of the community capacity model will see My Moola implemented though the following community controlled organisations: Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, VIC Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place, VIC Yaandina Family Services Roebourne, WA My Moola is a flexible program that recognizes the diversity of Indigenous Australia. In the Roebourne area the financial literacy program My Moola has been renamed Waba Garrungu, as this name is more appropriate and has more resonance in the local Aboriginal language. In local language Waba Garrugu means “Good Money” The Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency CEO Muriel Bamblett said today “By helping community members understand the importance of financial management and providing families with the skills necessary to keep track of the family budget, we believe we are further enhancing their ability to look after their children and provide a secure environment for their children’s growth.”
“The My Moola program is a great initiative that will help Aboriginal families take back control of the purse strings,” said Mrs Bamblett.
Building on the progress that has been made in the area of Indigenous employment across all sectors of the community, many employers are now looking to identify successful strategies to support and retain their Indigenous staff. Negotiations with some of Australia’s leading corporate companies in hospitality, mining and retail are still in progress at this stage and will be announced at a later date.
My Moola has the capacity to provide unique and culturally appropriate support for Indigenous staff in all sectors. First Nations Foundation CEO Trevor Pearce said, “While most Australians can relate to the concept of being the first person in their family to obtain a degree, for some Indigenous people they are the first person in their family to enter the workforce. We are witnessing people transition from intergenerational dependency on welfare into the workforce and in some cases, to huge salaries from the resource industry. This needs to translate into wealth creation within Indigenous communities for it to be sustainable economically, socially but must importantly culturally.”
My Moola is delivered by Indigenous facilitators and is designed to develop the capacity of the local Indigenous community to own and control the program moving forward and actively lead the change-management process within the community.