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The banking industry recognises that many Indigenous Australians face significant social, economic and financial disadvantage. The ABA and member banks work closely with Indigenous groups and government on improving money management, financial literacy skills and business enterprise within Indigenous communities.
The ABA’s Indigenous Statement of Commitment, revised in July 2015, outlines how the retail banking industry may make a difference for Indigenous Australians and their communities.
It details banks' efforts to improve Indigenous Australians' financial literacy levels, employment opportunities and their access to banking services.
In 2007, the ABA released its first Indigenous Statement of Commitment, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the 1967 referendum that acknowledged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as Australian citizens, by including them in the national census of the Australian population.
A number of banks have in place programs and activities that focus on providing financial literacy training and financial inclusion strategies to Indigenous Australians and their communities. These include money management projects, matched savings programs, financial counseling partnerships, e-learning grants to Indigenous schools, Indigenous business enterprise development support, and Indigenous community worker training.
The major banks also have Indigenous employment, traineeship and scholarship programs.
Find out more information about banks’ Indigenous Reconciliation action plans:
The banking industry has worked with the Federal Government on an agreement to provide fee-free ATM transactions for bank customers in selected very remote Indigenous communities.
The participating banks include: ANZ, BankSA, Bank of Melbourne, Bankwest, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited, BOQ, Citibank, Commonwealth Bank, HSBC, ING DIRECT, ME Bank, NAB, St. George, Suncorp and Westpac.
There are 85 ATMs identified as meeting the eligibility criteria which are operated by the participating independent ATM deployers. A full list of these ATMs is available here. For more information visit the Commonwealth Treasury website.
The ABA has partnered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to produce a booklet “Dealing with Book Up: Key Facts”, which provides helpful information about book up practices to assist community workers ensure Indigenous Australians are not vulnerable to store owners and others taking their money.
Book up lets you buy food or other items you need from the shop and pay for them later. When you buy something with book up, you usually have to give the store owner your bank card.
For more information about book up, go to ASIC’s MoneySmart website.