Panel session

Topic: Improving Australians' financial literacy - a shared responsibility

Convenor: Paul Clitheroe AM, Chairman, Australian Government Financial Literacy Board

Panellists:

  • Kate O'Donnell, Chief Executive Officer, NSW Institute of Teachers - focusing on building financial literacy through formal school education
  • Air Commodore Robert Brown, Chairman, Australian Defence Force Financial Services Consumer Council - focusing on workplace programs
  • Linda Elkins, Executive General Manager, Colonial First State - focusing on the role of the business sector in financial literacy programs
  • Tony Robinson, Senior Manager, Financial Inclusion, Brotherhood of St Laurence - focusing on community programs assisting the disadvantaged

View accessible text version

Illustration of panel session

Panel session

Illustration by Gavin Blake of Fever Picture

Accessible text version

Panel session

Kate O'Donnell (formal school education)

  • I learned to be financially literate when I was quite young
  • All my kids are now financially literate
  • All my kids are now in a good position, and are now contributors to Australia's economy
  • Key to success - share the learning early
  • Not just the role of the maths teacher (just because I teach this, doesn't mean I am financially literate)
  • Significant indicators:
    - teachers
    - education levels of parents (especially mums)
    - alignment with curriculum
    - workshops available
    - MoneySmart Teaching resources
  • Look for those teachable moments

Air Commodore Robert Brown (workplace programs)

  • We have a small team and collaborators, and a small budget - runs very well
  • We know the programs are working
  • Two very important words: education, independent
  • Why do we do this: logical (where you earn your money), altruistic (not just duty of care), capability (helps us get the job done)
  • Financial literacy at key stages: recruit, prepare, deploy, post, transition, promotion
  • Some of our programs are compulsory, others are not
  • There is no reason why key financial education programs cannot be made compulsory across Australian workplaces in the same way that employers require employees to undertake other professional development programs
  • Question: How many people are you trying to reach? Answer: 90,000 and their families
  • Do have a look at our website: ADF Financial Services Consumer Council (all yours to use)

Linda Elkins (role of the business sector)

  • We must run our business with an eye on financial literacy
  • FirstChoice - a popular product, difficult for people to manage on their own, so made easier to understand
  • We have a huge opportunity to affect the financial literacy of most Australians
  • The challenge is in changing behaviour
  • A well informed customer in the right product (unlike Daniel, from Plenary session 3) is the best way to make money
  • We don't use focus groups anymore - we use customer-centric design, and design our products around this data
  • We may never reach our goal of national financial literacy - so we build our products around current literacy levels
  • MySuper - offer default options to customers
  • Community and partnership (eg StartSmart)

Tony Robinson (community programs assisting disadvantaged)

  • Saver Plus is a ten year partnership [Brotherhood of St Laurence and ANZ]
  • Currently 4,230 Saver Plus participants (16,000 have completed the program)
  • Self improvement, involve kids, dealing with financial pressure
  • Results: 87% still save, 93% report higher self esteem, 97% use savings to educate their children
  • Learning doesn't always arise from teaching
  • Teachable moments - unless the timing is right, the learning won't occur
  • Question: How are you going with co-ordinating efforts? Are we learning from each other? Answer: There will always be trial and error [and learnings from that] - NGOs do need more opportunities to share amongst ourselves

Last updated: 31 Oct 2016