First Nations Foundation invited several organisations, including ICAN, to participate in its Financial Wellness Week in Cairns and Yarrabah in August. ICAN Financial Counsellor, Zack Wildy, went along and told The Yarn why these events are an excellent opportunity for people to get their finances in shape.
ICAN was excited to join representatives from organisations including the ATO, Centrelink, Superannuation, Mob Strong Debt Help and the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) for First Nations Foundation Wellness Week, designed as a family-friendly day. These events bring a range of different organisations together, from government, private enterprise, and the not-for-profit sector, to assist First Nations peoples in sorting out all aspects of their finances. These one-stop-shop events bring culturally appropriate financial information to First Nations peoples, empowering them to take control of their finances.
Food is a great way to unite people, so the sausage sizzle is always a big hit. Some people drop in just because they’re curious, but after having a relaxed yarn and something to eat, they will go, ‘Actually, I’ve been meaning to do my tax return’, so they sit down with the ATO and get it done right then and there. Sometimes people might have a few outstanding tax returns and then find they’re getting a refund of a few hundred bucks, so they leave the event with their tax done and a refund.
There are a lot of cross-referrals between the different services, which means we can solve many issues between us in a short amount of time. For example, ICAN will send people to see the ATO to find out what’s happening with their tax; then the ATO can see they’ve got a couple of super funds, so they can go over and speak to the super mob to find out if they might roll their funds together.
ICAN also help with any money matters that might come up, for example, debts, budgeting, bills, or just by having a general yarn about finances.
These events are also great for financial counsellors because we can network with people from other organisations and have someone to contact when we need help with a complicated matter.
Community days like these are an excellent way to do a bit of financial housekeeping and get some instant wins. Looking at your finances is one of those things that none of us necessarily enjoy doing, but at some point, you should do it because otherwise, it can quickly get out of control.
This one-stop-shop approach means people will get their finances in shape much quicker as they don’t have to traipse around to all the different services or make heaps of phone calls. You’ve got everything in front of you, with people keen to help get your finances sorted. I encourage any First Nations people to attend events like these if they see them advertised in their community; it will benefit them in the long run. And, of course, who doesn’t love a free snag!