Money Management Program
Funded by the Department of Social Services (formerly FaCHSIA), the Money Management Program (MMP) was delivered in the Yarrabah and Palm Island Aboriginal communities between 2008-2014.
Services offered under the program included:
- Education and intensive support in money management, including community education workshops;
- Support to individuals and families through the use of tools and resources to develop budgets, money plans and savings goals;
- Assist clients to accesses financial products and services;
- Assist and support clients with bill paying and purchasing;
- Refer to other services such as financial counselling, Home Ownership on Indigenous Land (HOIL), Emergency Relief, No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS), as well as other community services;
- Delivery of the Money Management “Home ownership on Indigenous Land Structured Education Program” (HOILSEP).
In the 2012-13 financial year, ICAN assisted 426 clients through the Palm Island Money Management Program and 414 clients through the Yarrabah Money Management Program. ICAN conducted 87 financial literacy workshops in the communities, on topics: “Making the money last until payday”, “Planning for the future” (budgeting and savings) and banking issues. Separately, ICAN assisted 350 Palm Island clients with banking issues after banking services were withdrawn from the Island.
ICAN delivered the Australian Tax Office’s “Tax Help” program through the “Money Management Program.” Tax Help yielded high results on Palm Island, with ICAN completing 157 tax returns for community residents, resulting in a total of $258,777 in tax refunds (an average refund of $1,585 per person). The Tax Help program is a good example of practices that provide the MM program new ways of engaging with Yarrabah and Palm Island communities. Through the program, ICAN MM Workers and Financial Counsellors assisted people to begin keeping their receipts and paperwork in preparation for tax time. In early 2013, ICAN commenced its Indigenous Home Ownership Education (IHOME) education program on Palm Island. IHOME was designed by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with educational and skills building pathways for purchasing or building their own home.
In 2009-2011, ICAN had James Cook University (Community-based Health Promotion & Prevention Studies Group, School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine & Rehabilitation Science) undertake an independent evaluation of ICAN’s Money Management Program in Yarrabah and Palm Island communities. The evaluation research covered:
1. Development and implementation of the Money Management Program;
2. An evaluation framework using an action research model where both the evaluation process and practices of MMP’s were informed by ongoing feedback of data collected to ICAN & ongoing participation by ICAN staff, particularly the MMP staff, in the development and implementation of the evaluation.
This evaluation examined the department goals of the Money Management Program and identified evidence-based strategies to increase Indigenous financial capability in two Aboriginal communities. The evaluation research was funded by ICAN & the Department of Families, Community Services, Housing and Indigenous Affairs.