Wujal Wujal Two Years On

Wujal Wujal has noticed a significant change from just over two years of becoming Australia’s first Do-Not-Knock informed community. Desmond Tayley, Wujal Wujal Shire Council Mayor said, “We have witnessed a noticeable reduction in shonky traders selling goods door-to-door in our community, the town signs coupled with greater awareness around consumer rights has really made a difference.” Unfortunately like any other town, door-to-door trading is just one of many consumer/financial issues that needs to be addressed.

ICAN’s Yarnin’ Money outreach team recently liaised with Wujal Wujal Council to section off three days in November for financial literacy training of community members and service providers backed by access to our financial counselling services and North Queensland Indigenous Consumer Taskforce partners the Queensland Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Speaking on the events coordination, Yarnin’ Money’s Eddie Buli said, “I’d like to give a big shout out to Michael Hoare from the Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council for coordinating training participants and financial counselling clients, he really maximised our time there.”

On the first day the Yarnin’ Money team held a Service Providers training session with eight local community workers from the Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council, My Pathways, Jabalbina Rangers, Community Care and Wujal Wujal Justice Group. “Participant feedback highlighted that the yarnin’ nature of the program was a hit combined with the discussion on referral pathways to financial counselling and access to the Money Smart budgeting tool,” said Mr. Buli. “One participant said the concept of looking at putting money aside for saving as just paying another bill, really rang true to them.”

The second day was set aside for a Community Council meeting under the Mango Trees, where the Queensland OFT, ACCC and Apunipima Cape York Health Council set up information stalls and made short community presentations with ICAN at the meeting. The Highlight of the event was when ICAN’s Eddie Buli and OFT’s Terry Brodin, buttered 16 loaves of bread and smashed out 200 sausages, 50 hamburger patties and sliced 40 onions on the BBQ, to compliment the buns, salad and fruit platters provided by the Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council. Definitely a great way to get the meeting started.

On the third day the Yarnin’ Money team held a ‘With the Mob’ session with 13 My Pathway participants and 1 staff member. “Feedback from the participants suggested that they really appreciated learning about budgeting and the potential of saving money,” said Mr. Buli. “Our Financial Counsellor, Unaisi Buli had 9 appointments during the three day visit, with most referrals coming from participants of the Yarnin’ Money training sessions and Wujal Wujal Shire Council’s pre-organised clients.”

ICAN’s up and coming financial counsellor and capability worker Carmen Hegarty talked about her highlight, summing up what the trip was all about. “WOW what a week, I had great a one-on-one with a couple who needed budgeting skills, I walked them through the Money Smart budget tool that we use, we looked at their combined income and then I asked them both to be totally honest about where they spend their money, “ said Ms. Hegarty. “They were really happy to go through that process and said they walked away being able to see the light at the end of their debt tunnel.”

The North Queensland Indigenous Consumer Taskforce is set to meet again in December and plan more community engagement activities for 2019.