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Three million people in Australia are severely or fully excluded from financial institutions and their banking and insurance products. Financial exclusion places people and their families at risk of financial hardships. This can lead to poverty, vulnerability to predatory lending practices and poor social, emotional and health outcomes.
In 2015 Australia committed to financial inclusion by agreeing to international obligations including the G20 Financial Inclusion Action Plan and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. As part of this commitment, the Australian Government appointed Good Shepherd Microfinance to develop a Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) program.
The FIAP program provides an opportunity for organisations to take real action to realise financial inclusion – especially for women. The program has been developed in partnership with the Australian Government, EY and the Centre for Social Impact and is also supported by an Advisory Group of experienced professionals from across the government, corporate and community sectors.
Why is financial inclusion important?
The innovation of a modest group of 30 Trailblazer organisations embedding committed actions into business as-usual-practices, could contribute towards:
- A GDP uplift of $2.9 billion,
- Government savings of $583 million
- Increased household wealth of $11.8 billion per annum 
What is a FIAP?
A FIAP is an agreed strategy of practical actions that an organisations will undertake to improve financial inclusion in Australia. A FIAP provides an opportunity for these organisations to take real action to enable financial inclusion and resilience.
Together with Good Shepherd Microfinance, organisations are able to put together a series of measurable actions that commit to financial resilience for their staff and clients.
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30 trailblazer organisations taking action
Thirty organisations (FIAP Trailblazers) joined Phase One of this program – together they employ over 250,000 people and have almost 80 percent of the Australian population as customers.
FIAP participants make genuine commitments to take action, and having undertaken Evaluation and Quality Assurance at the end of Phase One, we now have evidence that the FIAP framework is effective. Together, the FIAP Trailblazers have committed over 580 actions to realise greater inclusion and resilience for vulnerable groups in their own sphere of influence. 72 percent of the 240+ actions committed by the first twelve Trailblazers in 2016 have been completed, with a further 21 percent currently underway.
The following organizations have joined the program in 2018-2019
 SPP (2016). Economic Modelling for FIAP Program Implementation Team, November 2016