Federal Government commits to establishing enduring resolution for Youpla victims ‘within months’ – key details to be finalised
Quotes attributable to Bettina Cooper, Boandik woman, Save Sorry Business Coalition coordinator and Aboriginal financial counsellor at Mob Strong Debt Help
“It is over 30 years since Youpla started targeting First Nations communities with misleading practices, selling them funeral insurance marketed as a funeral fund. It is over 20 years since successive federal governments approved Youpla to receive payments via Centrepay, taking family income out of social security payments before they could put food on the table.”
“During this time, state and federal governments and regulators knew what was happening and failed to stop this financial exploitation. They ignored the warnings and allowed this predatory company to take over $170 million from more than 100,000 First Nations families.
“It is now a year since Youpla collapsed and the Save Sorry Business Coalition first called for urgent action to alleviate financial and cultural harm in First Nations communities. This trauma is ongoing and continues to increase the gap in financial security, social and emotional wellbeing, and life expectancy.
“In the past year, First Nations advocates, financial counsellors and policyholders have travelled to Canberra six times and held dozens of meetings with ministers, MPs, advisers and departments – including with Minister Linda Burney, Minister Stephen Jones, the NIAA and Treasury. We have worked constructively at every stage, including supporting the Interim Youpla Scheme.
“Yesterday, Minister Burney met with Save Sorry Business Coalition members and reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to providing a fair and culturally appropriate resolution for the victims of Youpla. This included culturally appropriate options such as bonds and repayments.
“While we are disappointed that a permanent Youpla scheme was not established in the May Federal Budget, we welcome the commitment given to us in person by Minister Burney. We support steps being taken by the Federal Government to establish a fair and culturally appropriate scheme within the next few months and to finalise the full details of the scheme, including scope and timing. These details will give First Nations communities certainty and confidence in the process.
“We will continue to work with ministers Burney and Jones to ensure their promise to First Nations people is delivered in full before the Interim Scheme expires in November 2023. We have listened to the voices of First Nations people, and all members of the Save Sorry Business Coalition will continue to fight for a fair and just outcome for all those harmed.”
Media enquiries: Daniel Scoullar, 0402 596 297, [email protected]
- ● Mob Strong Debt Helpline – 1800 808 488 or www.facebook.com/mobstrongdebthelp
- ● Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network – 1800 369 878 or www.ican.org.au
- ● Financial Counselling Australia – 03 8554 6978
About Youpla/ACBF and the Save Sorry Business Coalition
For almost 30 years, the Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund, trading as Youpla, aggressively sold poor-value funeral plans to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia.
Youpla actively preyed on the culturally significant practice of Sorry Business with many people paying tens of thousands of dollars to the company to ensure their families could afford a dignified and culturally appropriate Sorry Business. Federal/state governments and regulators have been aware of the exploitative practices of Youpla for many years.
The Save Sorry Business Coalition is a First Nations-led campaign supported by 130 organisations and over 20,000 Australians seeking a fair and enduring resolution for over 100,000 First Nations people harmed by the misleading and deceptive conduct of Youpla and the massive and prolonged failure of government and regulators over two decades.