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First Nations Foundation partners with BHP to boost financial literacy of Indigenous employees

Callan Morse -

Australia's only national Indigenous financial literacy organisation, First Nations Foundation, will partner with mining giant BHP to offer financial education opportunities to thousands of Indigenous BHP employees across Australia.

The three-year deal, worth $750,000, will provide access to financial literacy training to more than 2000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander BHP employees, many who reside in remote locations, through BHP's My Money Dream (MMD) program.

The partnership will see First Nations Foundation share it's Indigenous-led financial knowledge with BHP to extend the MMD platform to remote communities in Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.

MMD responds to national research highlighting the significant gap in financial literacy that First Nations people experience compared to non-indigenous Australians, with one in two Indigenous people suffering severe financial stress, nine in ten with no financial security, and over half the Indigenous population with no savings at all.

First Nations Foundation chief executive Phil Usher said the Foundation's partnership with BHP will ensure the program's rollout in more remote communities, with more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people being supported with sound financial management.

"BHP is giving us the autonomy to run our initiative as we see fit and educate as is most appropriate for the varying needs of the Indigenous communities we will reach through this partnership," he said.

Mr Usher said while MMD is primarily a digital learning resource, FNF will provide participants with a learning model that suits their personal context, with benefits often felt through participant's communities

"We know that not all community members will learn in the same way, so we will reach participants anyway we can, be that online, face-to-face or other community or web-based solutions," he said.

"Our research has shown us that more often than not, when one person in a community embraces and adapts to a new resource, this is shared with friends and family members, garnering a positive flow-on effect."

MMD training will be run by the Foundation's Indigenous trainers, who will facilitate half-day workshops on topics including maximising income, accessing superannuation and insurances, creating budgets and savings plans, and retirement plans.

Fostering relationships with local community organisations as well as training BHP staff groups in preparation for a more widespread rollout of the My Money Dream program will be the priority in the first year of FNF's partnership with BHP.

BHP Head of Indigenous Engagement Australia Allan James said BHP's involvement in the program will lead to more First Nations BHP employees possessing improved financial literacy skills, which will encourage positive financial choices and economic development outcomes in remote areas.

"We are excited to partner with First Nations Foundation and trust their expertise in working alongside people and organisations to make change," he said.

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