The Save Sorry Business Coalition has welcomed the Federal Government’s initial $7.2 million Budget allocation for the Youpla Funeral Benefits Program. This interim scheme will help a small percentage of First Nations families affected by the collapse of Youpla to conduct the important cultural practice of Sorry Business.
This initial commitment is a first step towards the full investment needed in the May 2023 Budget to provide 30,000 policy holders with an enduring resolution.
The Save Sorry Business Coalition looks forward to ongoing and meaningful consultation with affected communities across the country to deliver a final scheme that is strongly informed by the voices ofindividuals, families and communities who were exploited by Youpla.
In July this year, financial counsellors and advocates welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to consult on an enduring resolution for First Nations people who have been harmed.
Analysis of data from the liquidators and 2018 Banking Royal Commission shows that around 30,000 First Nations people were harmed by Youpla over three decades, with some regions and communities being repeatedly targeted by aggressive and illegal sales tactics.
This includes pregnant women and babies being signed up for poor-value funeral insurance products and paying ACBF/Youpla via Centrepay, with the government stamp of approval.
This predatory behaviour was exacerbated by a significant failure of government and regulators to protect vulnerable families and communities over three decades, which has been acknowledged by the Federal Government. The greatest numbers of families harmed live in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
Last month, the Federal Government put in place a temporary scheme to assist a small percentage of affected First Nations peoples who met certain criteria and had a family member pass away after 1 April 2020. This interim scheme will expire in 12 months’ time.
Daphne Naden, Kuku Yalanji Elder and Director at the Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network said, “This crisis is far from over. Some people think the announcement regarding the urgent assistance is the solution, but it is only the first step in a journey that the Federal Government needs to take with First Nations people.”
“It is about closing the gap. It is about hearing our voices. It is about changing the idea that people can get away with taking advantage of First Nations people without any justice.”
The Save Sorry Business Coalition looks forward to working with the Federal Government to seek a culturally appropriate and enduring solution for all First Nations people experiencing financial loss and cultural crisis due to the Youpla collapse.
● Mob Strong Debt Helpline – 1800 808 488 or www.facebook.com/mobstrongdebthelp
● Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network – 1800 369 878 or www.ican.org.au
● Financial Counselling Australia – www.financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au
The Save Sorry Business Coalition is led by First Nations people and organisations, supported by
charities, financial counselling organisations, community legal centres, consumer advocacy
organisations, social services, unions and individual community members seeking justice.
Media enquiries: Daniel Scoullar, 0402 596 297, firstname.lastname@example.org