ASIC has created three new animated videos to provide Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Australians with information about car
loans, renting appliances, and using book up (a tab or store
Watch the 'Take a minute with your money' videos here and find
out how and why ASIC developed them.
In these videos, the characters Aunty B and Uncle Bob remind you
to 'take a minute with your money' to avoid some common problems
when you buy a car, rent things for your home, or use book up at
your local shop.
The campaign tagline, 'take a minute with your money', was
chosen to encourage Indigenous consumers not to be pressured or
rushed into a financial decision.
The videos are designed to help Indigenous consumers feel
empowered and in control of their money and make financial
decisions that are right for them.
ASIC is committed to helping all Australians better understand
financial issues. This is particularly important for Indigenous
Australians, who are overrepresented in groups with the lowest
We recognise that this does not apply to all Indigenous
Australians. However, because of historical and cultural factors,
many Indigenous people have attitudes towards money that are
different to those of non-Indigenous Australians. For some
Indigenous people, money is not valued by its fixed exchange value
but by its ability to be used to care for family. Our videos
reflect this important value.
In 2015, ASIC undertook an Indigenous financial literacy
'stocktake' to identify gaps in the content and format of
resources. This research found there was a need for financial
literacy resources focusing on buying a car, renting appliances and
using book up, and these should be targeted towards regional and
ASIC regularly receives reports of misconduct about consumer
leases, car financing and book up from Indigenous consumers across
Australia. An education campaign focused on these areas is one way
ASIC can help consumers avoid serious financial problems.
Listen to an interview on Sydney radio station 2SER with analyst
Nathan Boyle who explains why ASIC has launched the 'Take a minute
with your money' campaign to help Indigenous consumers.
Interviewer 1: Well last month ASIC released a
financial literacy program aimed at Indigenous consumers called
'Take a minute with your money'. This campaign is part of a larger
Program, which promotes financial literacy amongst Indigenous
Australians. We've got Nathan Boyle from ASIC's Indigenous Outreach
Program in the studio with us to tell us a bit about the process of
developing an Indigenous financial literacy campaign. Nathan's a
Woragery man and analyst for the Indigenous Outreach Program since
2011. Welcome Nathan to the program.
Nathan: No worries, thanks very much for having
Interviewer 1: Well, ASIC traditionally deals
with regulation of companies and such, so how's ASIC got involved
in this sort of the outreach program that you've done?
Nathan: Well it's quite interesting a lot of
people think that ASIC purely regulates corporations and companies,
but we're actually the corporate markets and financial services
industry regulator. So we're responsible for a lot of consumer
protection work as well, including credit, superannuation, banking
and insurance. And it was recognised that Indigenous consumers, as
a broad subset of the population, tend to have a much lower level
of understanding of how to work with them products and services. So
in 2009 an external review was conducted, and after that review
they decided that we needed to have a formal Indigenous outreach
program to make sure that that section of the population was having
their consumer rights protected.
Interviewer 2: So in terms of financial issues
within the Indigenous community, what are the major ones that they
Nathan: Indigenous consumers, it's important to
say, have a real breadth of experience - some people are financial
experts and some people really struggle with understanding the
mainstream economy. But some of the biggest issues that we come
across are in the book up space, which is informal credit provision
in remote Indigenous communities. Where sometimes we see stores
will request a consumer's key card and PIN number and then use them
banking details to withdraw all or nearly all the funds from a
consumers account. We see people being targeted by consumer lease
providers for example, and they might be signed up to three or four
or five different products on consumer leases, where they can be
paying interest rates of up to 800% if they had have bought that on
a credit contract.
Interviewer 2: It's naivety as well, you're
educating people just to be a little bit more guarded with
financial information that they're providing to potential
Nathan: Yeah, that's right. Look Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander people, as a broad subset of the population,
have had a lot less experience in engaging with financial services
than other Australians. You've got to remember that for a lot of
Aboriginal people the first time they had access to their own money
was after the 1967 referendum, so it's really the first few
generations that have had access to that money. And then we're also
dealing with some consumers that live in regional and remote areas
of Australia where English might not be their first language, and
they might only deal regularly with one business. But then we see
these outside providers coming into the communities and signing
people up to contracts that they really don't understand, they
haven't had any experience with them, they haven't seen them
Interviewer 1: Well just a lease document can
be like 10 pages long, can't it, with - depending on the lease
company I suppose - with lots of very small writing in legalese
which is pretty hard to understand. And people just go "oh yeah,
it's fine, just sign down here and you'll have your car", that's
what they tell you, so I guess it is difficult when you haven't had
Nathan: Yes. That's right and we see some
really predatory practices from some of these consumer lease
providers. One of the ones that we looked into in particular had
gotten a respected elder from the community and given them an
incentive to introduce the company to other members of the
community. So community members already felt comfortable to sign
up, because they trusted the elder.
Interviewer 1: So it's a version of celebrity
endorsement, isn't it really?
Nathan: That's right, yeah absolutely.
Interviewer 1: And I just wanted to ask you
what the actual 'Take a minute with your money' campaign was that
you've developed. Can you explain what… How it encapsulates what it
Nathan: Yeah, so ASIC's Indigenous Outreach
Program has a whole number of roles, so we do everything that ASIC
does in the consumer protection space. That includes investigating
financial services misconduct, it includes working with industry to
improve their practices, and then the third main thing that we do
is produce financial literacy resources targeted at Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander people. A lot of our resources have been
paper-based and aimed at intermediaries to assist them to work with
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. But we conducted a
research process to have a look at the financial literacy materials
that were out there and to identify some of the gaps, and what we
discovered from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people around
the country was that there was a real gap in audio visual resources
that were targeting Indigenous consumers that might not have enough
literacy to be able to read our written publications. And so out of
that research that we conducted and focus groups around the
country, we determined that the three most important issues for
that consumer group, for Aboriginal people living in regional and
remote areas were consumer leasing, buying a car and renting things
for their home.
Interviewer 1: Well, actually, I think we have
a clip of buying
a car here so we might just play that now.
Cousin 1: Hey cuz, you should get a flash new
ute. With your deadly new job you can afford it. I can see us now,
stylin' up around town.
Cousin 2: Yeah but I only need something to get
Cousin 1: ...and maybe take the mob on that
Salesman: Morning fellas, I've got just the car
for you. This one is perfect. I can do some special extras as well:
tinted windows, a bull bar, roof racks. And with a car like this
you'll be wanting all the extras.
Interviewer 1: So you can tell the sales pitch
there can't you? And I guess people can identify with the two guys
that are looking at buying a car?
Nathan: Absolutely, and look we've tried to use
really identifiable characters from Indigenous communities and the
two main characters that tell the stories across the three
animations and radio plays that we've produced are Aunty B and
Uncle Bob. They represent Indigenous elders, the knowledge holders
and custodians of knowledge in Aboriginal communities.
So we hope that by using respected people to give these tips
about taking a minute with your money, not being rushed into
signing up to contracts that you don't understand, that Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander consumers will identify with their
messages and that they will be able to understand them and really
think about that next time they are approached with one of these
Interviewer 1: And one of the messages is, that
Uncle Bob is talking about interest rates and you've got to be
careful about how high they are, cause a lot of consumer finance
you can get… There's a lot of sharks out there?
Nathan: Absolutely. One of the investigations
that we conducted into a motor vehicle finance
provider found that Indigenous consumers who were predominately
receiving Centrelink as an income were being signed up to motor
vehicle loans for $12,000 at 48% interest. And when we undertook
the investigation into that particular provider, we found out that
most of the consumers that had entered into them contracts, had no
idea what an interest rate was. So not only did people not know
that 48% was too high, they had no concept of what interest was at
So that's why it's really important that even basic consumer
concepts, that we can break them down. Because if we can help the
people who have the lowest level of knowledge about financial
services to be able to understand the very basics then that's what
our job is. Our job is protecting the most vulnerable consumers,
and then we can build up from there to make sure that everyone
understands them concepts.
Interviewer 1: And what sort of interest rates
should they expect?
Nathan: A usual car loan would probably be
around 16% interest, so 48% is kind of three times higher than
Interviewer 2: But they should be able to
negotiate that as well. And is that part of the training process as
well? Understanding that when you're going out for a loan, there is
the opportunity for you to be able to make a deal if you like and
reduce a rate like 16%?
Nathan: That's some of the work that we would
do if we were on the ground, but we're quite a small team. We're
currently six people nationally, so the resources that we produce
are really around education and then we try and work with
intermediaries like financial counsellors and community legal
centres to give them the tools that they need to be able to run
that kind of education on the ground in communities.
Interviewer 2: Now another issue that you've
got obviously with Indigenous people is store accounts and I know
you've produced another sort of audio visual, and we've got a grab
of that book up
video as well. So let's have a listen to that.
Aunty B: Before you use book up, remember these
- You decide what gets booked up. Don't get pressured by others
to buy stuff you don't need, even if they are real cute. That's a
lot of chocolate Billy, you're gonna have to put it back.
- Next, check the amount you owe. So your book up account doesn't
get too high, or you might never pay it off.
- And remember, you are in charge of your ATM card. To keep your
money safe, never tell anyone your PIN.
Interviewer 2: And book up's like in a remote
community where you have one store. Is that where you would use a
book up account?
Nathan: A very basic explanation of what book
up is - it's like if you haven't got enough money to buy bread and
milk and you go to the local store, you grab the bread and milk and
they write it down, and you come and pay them next payday. But what
we see with some of the really predatory book up practices is that
they're not keeping accurate records of the store accounts and
tabs. So, there's no way for the store to tell how much the
consumer owes. Then they'll ask the consumer as I said before, to
leave their key card and their PIN number and they'll then use them
to withdraw all or nearly all of the money from the consumers
I guess one of the key messages we're trying to get across with
that video is not to give anyone your PIN number, because that
reduces your consumer protections from the bank, so if someone does
take too much of your money there's no way for you to get that
money back. We're also asking consumers to think about how much
they are booking up and to make sure that they know exactly how
much it is that they owe the store.
Interviewer 2: So Nathan, how did the
Indigenous Outreach Program identify these issues in store? How was
that bought to your attention?
Nathan: Book up is something that's existed for
a very long time because back in the day, Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people were sent out to work and you might have
heard of Aboriginal trust funds and stuff, where wages of
Aboriginal people were paid into Government accounts. And the way
that that money was distributed was by cheque that was sent to the
local store. And obviously, 50-60 years ago, the postal service
wasn't as good as it is now, so by the time them cheques arrived at
the store, it might have been two or three weeks. People got used
to booking up their food and then the store would cash the cheque
and reduce the store account by however much it was from their
wages. That practice is something that's kind of developed and
continued, particularly in more regional and remote areas. It's a
practice that people are just used to.
Interviewer 2: So the reception to the videos,
how has it been to date and how do you get that sort of information
out to the remote areas that may not have access to the audio
visual online? So how do you do that?
Nathan: The reaction to the videos has been
really good. We launched them during NAIDOC week up in Darwin,
which was fantastic because some of the Indigenous Outreach Program
staff members got to go to Darwin and we were able to invite
members of the local community in to have a look at the videos. The
way that we get it out to people in regional and remote communities
is that our team constantly does work to work with our stakeholder
network - so them intermediaries that I spoke about before. We
provide access to the videos and the audio clips on USB sticks and
CDs so that intermediaries and service providers in more remote
areas have access to them even if they don't have access to the
In addition to that, we conduct regular outreach trips as part
of our investigative work or to run financial literacy training in
remote communities and during them trips, obviously these audio
visual materials that we've produced really allow us to be able to
have a maximum impact.
Interviewer 1: Well, we might just take a short
break there Nathan. We're with Nathan Boyle and he's behind the
program for Indigenous financial literacy at ASIC. I'm Roderick
Chambers, you're listening to 'On the Money', so we'll be back with
you in just one moment.
Interviewer 1: Well, we're back here with
Nathan Boyle, from the Indigenous Outreach Program at ASIC,
something you might not have thought ASIC might be doing. I'm
Roderick Chambers, I'm here with Tanya Katsanis.
Nathan, look I understand that you've currently got a couple of
court cases going on, what can you say about them which isn't going
to affect those court cases?
Nathan: Absolutely. We do have two court cases
- one of them that I mentioned before is against a finance
provider. ASIC issued proceedings in the Federal Court of
Queensland against the Cairns-based
operator who was offering high-interest credit contracts, as I
said, to Indigenous consumers and look they were targeting one of
Australia's most disadvantaged postal areas with them high-interest
The court case we've run is alleging breaches of the responsible
lending obligations, as well as some instances of unconscionable
conduct in relation to a series of loans that were given to
consumers for the purchase of motor vehicles. That judgement has
been reserved, so there's not too much more that I can say about
that one at the moment.
The second case that we've got at the moment involves a book up
provider in central Australia, again where they were targeting
vulnerable consumers whose first language wasn't English. That case
that we've taken in central Australia is actually the first time
that a book up proceedings has been taken to court under the
responsible lending provisions. So that judgement is also reserved.
We're really interested to see the way that the court interprets
the responsible lending provisions under the National Consumer
Credit Protection Act and how they might apply to book up, because
we think that there might be opportunities to strengthen the
regulation of book up and to really bring in some further
protections for the most vulnerable consumers.
Interviewer 1: And I just wanted to quickly
ask, what was the role of the Indigenous advertising agency,
Gilimbaa, in developing some of the content? How did that come
Nathan: We think it is really important to
support Indigenous businesses and also that there are creative
agencies and other agencies that have much better skills in the
areas of producing cartoons and radio segments then we do
ourselves. We contracted Gilimbaa, an Indigenous creative agency to
help us really hone the concepts we wanted to get across. We
provided Gilimbaa with a few key messages and asked them to work
with us in developing the scripting and the characters for these
resources, so that we could make sure that they were humorous and
that they were able to get the message across in a way that would
really engage the audience that we were targeting.
Interviewer 1: Well I think it's very engaging
even though I'm not the target audience I suppose.
Nathan: The other role that Gilimbaa played for
us is that they went out and conducted focus groups with Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander people in regional, remote and urban
areas throughout Australia, so that we got continuous feedback
throughout the process of developing these resources.
And I just do want to mention, if I can, that anyone can have a
look at these resources in the 'Take a minute with your money'
campaign. We've got a campaign page on our consumer literacy
website, which is MoneySmart. And the web address for that is www.moneysmart.gov.au.
One of the other things that I'd really like to mention, is just
one of the things that I always say in case we do have any
Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander listeners on the radio. One of
the key messages that I like to get across to people is that you
don't have to be your own doctor when it comes to money issues. If
you've got a pain in the stomach, no one expects you to dig around
and work out for yourself what's going on, they recommend that you
go and see your local doctor. It's the same thing with money issues
and financial issues. So if you are coming across something that
you've signed a contract for, that you're struggling to afford, or
you've got any questions about any kind of financial issue, then
we'd encourage you to give us a call on our Indigenous helpline. And
the number for our Indigenous helpline is 1300 365 957. If you call
that number, you'll come straight through to one of our Indigenous
specialists, they'll be able to help you out.
Interviewer 2: So all those videos that you
actually have produced, they're all accessible via the website
you've just provided?
Nathan: Absolutely, yes.
Interviewer 2: Fantastic.
Interviewer 1: Alright, well Nathan thanks
again for coming in. Thanks for being on 'On the money'.
Interviewer 2: Thank you Nathan.
Nathan: Fantastic. Thanks very much for having
ASIC worked with Indigenous creative agency, Gilimbaa to develop
the animations and they are voiced by Indigenous voiceover
The video scripts were tested with members of the Indigenous
community to make sure they were relevant, useful and culturally
The characters of Aunty B and Uncle Bob in the videos represent
Indigenous elders, who are the custodians of wisdom in their
communities. When they tell the younger characters to 'take a
minute with your money', it is because they know from experience
that this is how to make the right decision for you and your
The videos are being distributed through ASIC's MoneySmart
social media channels, and a number of other stakeholders,
including financial counsellors, community legal centres and
Indigenous organisations are also promoting the campaign.
If you would like to embed the videos on your website, or use
them on your social media channels, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.