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Government announces new NFP body to boost financial literacy

Major bank penalties are to fund financial literacy across Australia

The Turnbull government has announced their commitment to boosting financial capability across Australia with a financial literacy body.

Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer, said: “This new body will be a game-changer, a lasting institution that will support consumers and build financial capability for all Australians no matter what their circumstances.

“Financial literacy and capability is critical for economic empowerment, including for Australian women and young and older Australians.”

The new body has been tasked with managing and distributing $40 million in community payments that form part of the settlement agreements between the Australian Securities and Investments Commissions (ASIC), ANZ and NAB, relating to the manipulation of the Bank Bill Swap Rate, and $10 million by the government to develop women’s financial capabilities.

“It will become Australia’s peak body in championing financial literacy and capability amongst Australians. It will use funds received as a result of corporate wrongdoing to educate and empower Australian consumers of financial products and advice,” O’Dwyer said.

Speaking to the media, O’Dwyer added that an additional $15 million from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) could potentially be added to the fund pending approval from the Federal Court.

The minister also noted that where ASIC will accept enforceable undertakings, it may also agree to further community benefit payments to be paid to the new body.

The body will be independent of government and overseen by the Financial Literacy Board, chaired by Paul Clitheroe AM. He will be joined by Air Commodore Robert Brown AM and Elaine Henry OAM.

The organisation, which is expected to be the largest of its kind in Australia, is currently seeking deductible gift recipient status so that they may receive tax-deductible donations from the public.

“We want to actually build something that’s going to have a lasting legacy for Australians that will live beyond governments and will become a financial literacy and financial capability what Beyondblue has been for mental health,” O’Dwyer said.

The Not-for-Profit organisation is part of the Turnbull government’s commitment to growing financial capabilities of Australian consumers to continue supporting initiatives, including the More Choices for a Longer Life Package and the Strategy to Boost Women’s Workforce Participation.

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