ASIC launches multilingual financial resources

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ASIC has announced that people who migrated to Australia on humanitarian grounds now have access to multilingual resources to help them learn about Australia’s financial system.

The resources include fact sheets, audio and video content and teaching resources. Topics include household budgeting, saving money, paying bills, contracts, banking, credit, debt, insurance and superannuation.

They are part of a credit and debt education campaign launched in Auburn, NSW, by the Hon Senator Kate Lundy, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, the Hon Bernie Ripoll MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer and the Hon John Murphy MP, Federal Member for Reid.

ASIC’s Chairman, Greg Medcraft, said, ‘Many people who have migrated to Australia fall prey to unscrupulous operators and make costly mistakes on money matters. ASIC has produced targeted resources for them because they can be vulnerable. It is our aim to equip people with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their finances and to understand their consumer rights’.

Mr Medcraft said, ‘The resources are based on research and consultation with this community. We are very confident they will fill a communication gap in the teaching of financial literacy for people who have migrated to Australia. ASIC is very grateful for the support it has received from a broad range of government and community organisations in preparing these resources’.

Mr Khem Khanal from Bhutan, who has been in Australia for 18 months, has experienced the problems first hand and said, ‘People have problems borrowing and paying bills. They don’t know how to save the money and don’t know how to plan – they don’t know the concept. Many people don’t know about contracts, so they get into trouble. They don’t know where to get information. People are lost’.

Mr Said Sharaft Sultani from Afghanistan wished the materials had been available when he arrived in Australia. He said, ‘When I first got here it was hard to understand how things worked. Getting information in my language, Dari, would have helped me because I would have understood it 100%. In English I would’ve understood about 5-10%. My mum, she wouldn’t understand anything if it wasn’t in Dari’.

Support organisations for people who have migrated to Australia have also welcomed the campaign.

Refugee Council of Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Paul Power said, ‘Many humanitarian entrants suffer stress as they adjusted to new lives in Australia and a lack of financial literacy only adds to that. For people who have had little contact with banks and financial institutions, not being able to understand your rights can lock you out of vital opportunities and services’.

Chair of the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, Mr Pino Migliorinom, said, ‘Empowering communities, in-language, to safely and effectively engage with financial services in Australia may work towards alleviating disadvantage and ensuring equity for all humanitarian entrants’.

Settlement Council of Australia’s Chair, Cedric Manen said, ‘The resources launched by ASIC are well designed and importantly, are in community languages. The resources will complement the work of the settlement sector by helping newly arrived community members develop their financial literacy and numeracy skills’.

The resources can now be downloaded for free from ASIC’s consumer website, MoneySmart (new window).

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