Strengthening Indigenous Communities - extending Family Income Management and improving family payment outcomes for Indigenous children 

What's New?

Additional funding will be provided for the Family Income Management (FIM) programme which trains local facilitators to help individuals and family groups effectively use financial services, manage existing debt, budget for household expenses and develop savings plans. The funding will allow for the continuation of the five FIM sites in Cape York and two new sites in remote Indigenous communities.

A new family payments training package will be developed and delivered by specialised support workers to a total of sixteen remote sites (seven FIM sites, six MoneyBusiness sites and three Home Ownership sites). The package will be used alongside existing income management programmes and will guide workers to encourage families to use their payments for the well being of their children.

Where children move frequently between carers, people will be encouraged to pass on family assistance money or goods in lieu to the person with the current responsibility for caring for the child or children.

Centrepay makes payments for regular financial commitments directly from Centrelink payments. This measure will enhance Centrepay, increasing flexibility for families by allowing one-off Centrelink payments (e.g. lump sum family payments) to be directed to pay a range of bills rather than just a single bill as is currently the case.

Background

Family payments are often a major source of income in Indigenous communities. Families can face difficulties in managing this money. They may have low levels of financial literacy, live in social arrangements that make managing money difficult or lack access to basic banking facilities. Families sometimes need help to provide for their day-to-day needs, to meet regular financial commitments such as rent or bills, or to save money to purchase larger household items. The measures are designed to assist these families. The 2005 evaluation of existing FIM sites in Cape York found that the programme was successful in improving participants overall management of their finances, including paying off debts, paying essential household expenses and saving for specific goals. There were also reported improvements in family relationships, health and well-being.

Implementation

1 July 2006.

Total Government Funding

$16.6 million over four years.

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