PM Uses BSL Sambell Oration to Announce New Partnership Funding
10 November 2009 at 11:49 am
The first of these, with the Brotherhood of St Laurence, involves the SaverPlus scheme that helps low income Australians save for an education-related goal.
BSL has developed this scheme in partnership with the ANZ Bank, which has provided matching savings and loan capital, and the use of its banking infrastructure and expertise.
It is a scheme with runs on the board. An evaluation of the SaverPlus scheme by RMIT has showed that two to three years after completing the scheme, 70 per cent of participants are still saving at the same rate.
The Prime Minister told the audience that to support and expand the coverage of the SaverPlus matched savings scheme, the Commonwealth will commit $14.5 million to employ SaverPlus project workers in 60 communities, reaching up to 7,600 people, with financial education as a compulsory component of the program.
He says he will also be supporting a pilot of a market interest rate loan product for people who have otherwise been excluded from mainstream credit, called Progress Loans.
Brotherhood of St Laurence Executive Director, Tony Nicholson, says assisting people to develop a savings habit and to build assets would improve their financial wellbeing.
He says more than 5,000 people have already joined the program and with the Government’s generous support they can assist in reducing financial exclusion across many more Australian communities.
The second scheme the Government will be supporting is the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) conducted by Good Shepherd Youth and Family Services.
Through this scheme since 1980, Good Shepherd has provided thousands of vulnerable Australians with the opportunity to purchase essential household items, such as fridges and washing machines. At the same time, the scheme connects loan applicants with services to assist them, irrespective of whether they are awarded a loan.
Rudd says the scheme’s repayment rates of around 97 per cent speak volumes for the commitment of the participants to do the right thing and for the robustness of the scheme.
The Australian Government will be investing $18.5 million in this scheme, to support Good Shepherd conducting 22,000 financial consultations in up to 350 locations, and facilitating an additional 7,200 loans. In addition, Good Shepherd’s Step Up and Adds Up programs will provide low interest and matched savings opportunities for people on low incomes.
The PM acknowledged the important contribution of the National Australia Bank (NAB) to Good Shepherd’s work, providing loan and matching capital, as well as logistical support.
Kevin Rudd is the first Prime Minister to deliver the Sambell Oration which is named after a former BSL director, Archbishop Geoffrey Sambell (1914–1980), and reflects his vision for social justice. ANZ was the sponsor of this year’s Sambell Oration.
The full text of the PM’s speech can be seen at http://www.pm.gov.au/node/6253