Waltja’s Money Management program began in 2010, and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. The team works with people in Yuendumu, Laramba, Nyrippi, Wilora, Mount Liebig and Titjikala, and at Waltja’s office in Alice Springs. Leela Kruger, Rachel Abbott and Sonja Dare are the Money Management Fieldworkers and Kate Lawrnece is Program Manager.
The Money Management team runs workshops and helps individuals and families to learn about money, saving, planning, budgets, setting up and managing bank accounts, and Internet and phone banking. The team also works with people on how to stay safe from big money worries, such as how to avoid or manage debt, loans, hire purchase, or credit cards. Another role is to share stories about people in communities have dealt with money scams, humbugging, stealing money and so on.
After running workshops in all communities and regular visits, people are feeling more comfortable with the team and the help they can offer around money issues. In Titjikala, eight men came in during their lunchbreak to get some information and help from the Money Management team. This was a real break through.
In Wilora, ladies had made a strong rule about No Gambling in the community. They shared their story about how people used to play cards all day and night, losing their money and then having no money left for food. The ladies painted a canvas then told their story which was recorded on video. This has now been made into an i-talk story in three languages: Katyetye, Anmatjere and English so it can be shared with people in other communities. This adds to a number of italk stories that have been made by Waltja about money isssues.
The team ran workshops on shopping within a budget and planning to save for future goals with Waltja Directors and Community Reps at Ross River in May 2014. The aim was to test out the workshops and get feedback from the Directors before running them in communities. The Directors found it a practical and fun way of learning. One Exec member planned to start using the budget straight away with her family.
The team has worked with the banks, particularly Westpac, to set up a simple system for people in communities to open a bank account without having to travel in to Alice Springs (a long and expensive trip for many people).
- It can be hard to access the Internet and telephones on communities to help people set up and use internet or phone banking so they can find out their balance, make payments etc.
- Often when working with call centres, there are difficulties communicating about banking needs, where the client needs help but speaks limited or no English and also may be phone shy.
- Many young people in communities are on youth allowance but don’t have bank accounts so they get sent cheques from Centrelink. It can take two weeks for the cheque to arrive in the community and then there may only be two days a week when the cheque can be cashed. This makes it very difficult for the young people to manage their money.
- People want to have Internet banking and phone banking to have control over their money in communities and in town, but they then may become vulnerable to having their money stolen by other family members who know the PIN numbers and passwords.