Resilient women the focus of new national program

Eleven trailblazing organisations today unveiled their commitment to a new innovative program designed to stimulate inclusive economic growth, especially focused on women.

According to the CEO of Good Shepherd Microfinance, Adam Mooney, the new Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) program will see coordinated, measurable actions to improve financial resilience for large numbers of people experiencing financial exclusion and hardship.

“We all want to be able to access and use financial services that are appropriate to our circumstances and improve our lives. Yet, there are three million people, or one in six adults, who are financially excluded in Australia,” said Mr Mooney.

“The FIAP program invites organisations to turn good intentions into action that works by collaborating across sectors to improve financial inclusion for everyone,” he said.

Good Shepherd Microfinance and partners EY, Centre for Social Impact (CSI) and the Australian Government have developed the FIAP program, guided by an advisory group, Chaired by Ms Delia Rickard, Deputy Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

“Financial Inclusion Action Plans provide an opportunity for organisations to explore their current business operations and identify how they are taking action to realise financial inclusion through relationships, impact, learning and reporting,” said Ms Rickard.

“The 11 trailblazer organisations are the first among banks, energy companies, insurers, governments, universities, community organisations and others to commit to the program.

“Financial inclusion is a shared opportunity. By working collaboratively across business, community and government, Australia is taking great strides towards a more financially inclusive society,” said Ms Rickard.

Suncorp Group CEO and Managing Director Michael Cameron said: “Suncorp has a long history in supporting communities and customers and is looking forward to working alongside other top companies to help improve the financial resilience and capabilities of all Australians.”

“We are determined to meet the needs of our customers, employees and the broader community by providing them with access to relevant and affordable products and services that provide protection for today, and confidence for tomorrow” he said.

Mr Mooney also said that increased financial inclusion was linked to improved gender equality and safer outcomes for women and their children.

“Building women’s financial resilience is good for everyone. Financially confident and resilient women create financially resilient families that are less likely to be victims of forms of family violence such as financial abuse.”

“FIAPs will give organisations the opportunity to take meaningful and significant actions towards systemic change, allowing greater access to their products and services and in turn promoting economic participation by women,” he said.

The cross sectoral approach of the FIAP program places Australia in a global leadership role with regards to its international commitments to the G20 and the Global Financial Inclusion Action Plan.

ENDS

Media contacts:

Claire Sturrock, Good Shepherd Microfinance: 03 9495 9642

ABOUT THE PARTNERS

Good Shepherd Microfinance is the operational implementation partner with expertise in delivering inclusive finance programs. Good Shepherd Microfinance is a world leader in financial inclusion products, services and advisory. We offer fair and affordable financial programs to people on low incomes and advisory services with a global reach.

EY developed the quality assurance framework, ensuring the integrity of the implementation of actions within the FIAP program. EY is the most globally integrated professional services organisation. They are committed to building a better working world — with increased trust and confidence in business, sustainable growth, development of talent in all its forms, and greater collaboration.

Centre for Social Impact developed the evaluation framework to evaluate the FIAP program and its impact. Centre for Social Impact (CSI) take a systems approach to developing innovative solutions to the biggest social challenges today, with a vision for a better Australia tomorrow. Through research, teaching, events and advocacy, CSI aims to ensure knowledge translates to impact.

Department of Social Services supports the implementation of the FIAP program. The Department of Social Services aspires to be Australia’s pre-eminent social policy agency. Their mission is to improve the lifetime wellbeing of people and families in Australia.

The Eleven Trailblazers

  1. Anglicare SA
  2. ANZ Australia
  3. Bank Australia
  4. BaptistCare
  5. Commonwealth Bank
  6. Energy Australia
  7. NAB
  8. Queensland State Government
  9. Suncorp Group
  10. Swinburne University
  11. Westpac

Advisory Group Members:

The Financial Inclusion Action Plan program is governed by an Advisory Group, which includes:

  • Delia Rickard – Chair, FIAP Advisory Group, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
  • Louise McSorley – Head of the Office of Women, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Christine Nixon – Chair, Good Shepherd Microfinance
  • Fred Chaney – Reconciliation advocate and Senior Australian of the Year
  • Rosslyn Russell – RMIT, expert academic on gendered financial inclusion
  • Fiona Guthrie – CEO, Financial Counselling Australia
  • Rachael Bausor – CEO, Women’s Information and Referral Exchange (WIRE)
  • Gerard Brody – CEO, Consumer Action Law Centre
  • Diane Tate – Executive Director Retail, Australian Bankers Association
  • Rob Whelan – CEO, Insurance Council of Australia
  • Jason Eades – CEO, PwC Indigenous Consulting
  • Sally Sinclair – CEO, National Employment Services Association
  • Miles Larbey – Executive, ASIC
  • Shelley Jones – Director, Good Shepherd Microfinance
  • Professor Ross Buckley – Centre for International Finance and Regulation, University of New South Wales

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