All Posts By

Kylie Roberts

Merry Christmas from MoneyMob

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MoneyMob has had a great year and has achieved some amazing outcomes for clients. Here are some of our highlights from the calendar year 2018;

  • Over 350 days of outreach to APY Lands and Oodnadatta
  • Participated in Super expo with an estimated attendance of 500 Anangu
  • $114,524 worth of debt waived
  • 44 NILS Loans Approved
  • More than $37,000 in super paid out, not including the Big Day Out
  • More than $21,000 in refunds received
  • 33 Payment arrangements made for more than $150k of debt
  • Completed or assisted in the completion of 166 tax returns and non-lodgement advices

All the staff at MoneyMob would like to wish Anangu tjuta and the service providers in the APY Lands a happy and safe Christmas and New Year. We thank you for your friendship and cooperation this year, and look forward to working with you again in 2019.

MoneyMob’s Pukatja and Alice Springs offices will be open with a small number of staff, please be patient as they try to help you.

Alice Springs and Pukatja offices will be closed for Public holidays only, these dates are;

  • Tuesday 25 December 2018
  • Wednesday 26 December 2018
  • Tuesday 1 January 2019

Kanpi Office Closed 14 December 18 – Monday 28 January 2018

Reporting and Payments for Centrelink during Christmas/New Year break

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The Christmas and New Year holiday are here and Human Services will have their Service Centres and phone lines for Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support closed. The dates they will be closed are;

  • Tuesday 25 December 2018
  • Wednesday 26 December 2018
  • Thursday 27 December 2018
  • Tuesday 1 January 2019

There will also be some changes to reporting and when your payments will be received. To check these changes, have a look at the Human Services website www.humanservices.gov.au

  1. Use the search bar to search for ‘Public holiday reporting and payment dates’
  2. Select the page to see reporting dates for the payment that you receive.

Reporting dates are also on your reporting statements or you can use your myGov account or phone self-service to also check reporting dates.

Remember! Human Services have a phone app called “Express Plus”, you can use this as well as phone self-service lines and MyGov, this can be an easy way to do business with Centrelink over the Christmas and New Year break.

People who don’t have to report and receive payments from Centrelink automatically may receive their payments earlier than normal because of the Christmas public holidays.

IMPORTANT – remember these are early payments NOT an extra payment.  You will have to be ninti with your money to make it last until the next payment day.

Did you know? New Rules for Credit Cards

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From 1 January 2019 if you apply for a credit card, the credit card provider must check that you can afford to pay off the whole credit limit in three years.

Credit card limit increases

Also, credit card providers cannot contact you in any way to offer to increase your credit limit.  (Like they can’t ring you, send you stuff in the mail or email you to ask if you want to put your limit up.)  

Even if you said before that you want to get offers about credit limit increases, they’re STILL not allowed to contact you anymore. This is for both new and existing credit cards.

For credit cards provided from 1 January 2019, credit cards providers must let you reduce your credit limit or cancel your credit card online.

Mobile Phone information booklet out now!

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MoneyMob’s ‘Loans and Phones” Project focuses on educating Ananguhelp Anangu to get a better knowledge of their rights as a consumer of payday loans and phone contracts.  This also included learning more about the language in contracts, how to make a complaint if you’re not happy or to find help if you have trouble with a loan or phone bill.

 

Before Phase 1 of this project finished in September 2018, a booklet was produced specifically about Mobile Phones with information about data, internet usage, account balances, phone settings, data limits and a comparison of prepaid to plan options.

This booklet is a great resource for Anangu to know what to think about before buying a new phone and to understand mobile phones and how to use them the best way to avoid big bills.

Have a look at the booklet here or visit our offices to get a copy of the booklet.

Our MoneyMob team – Alice Springs staff

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Zeni Ferntree has moved to her new role as Associate Financial Counsellor, Zeni previously worked as our NILS officer for 12 months.  Zeni will work in Amata, Kanpi, Nyapari and Pipalyatjara.  A big welcome to Mervyn Watson, our new No Interest Loans (NILS) Officer.  Mervyn started in August in the role and has quickly learned the ropes to do his first outreach to Oodnadatta, Kanpi, Pipalyatjara and Amata in September.  Welcome to the team Mervyn!

                

Our MoneyMob team – The Pukatja staff

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We are very proud of our ninti kungka’s who are helping and teaching Anangu about money at our Pukatja office.  Charmaine has been working for MoneyMob since January and helps with mail, banking, and Centrelink.  Devina started in June and also helps with mail, banking, and Services SA transactions.  Elisha has worked at the office before and is back with the team again.  We appreciate the work that these women do for MoneyMob and the community.  Thanks ladies!

        

Loans & Phones project wraps up for stage 1

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MoneyMob’s ‘Loans and Phones’ project is finishing stage one!  For the past nine months, Deanne Gibbs has been running the project to help Anangu get a better knowledge of their rights as a consumer of payday loans and phone contracts.  This also included learning more about the language in contracts, how to make a complaint if you’re not happy or to find help if you have trouble with a loan or phone bill.

Clients have been learning about what a mobile plan is, what a phone contract really costs and how data and charges work on mobiles.  Sadly, we have found Anangu with very big bills for their mobile phones, MoneyMob have been helping to talk up for these clients who didn’t understand this before and now have big bills.  MoneyMob has also begun looking at ways to fix this for the future by talking to phone companies about better ways they sell mobile phone plans, including doing ‘affordability assessments’ which looks at how much each person can afford before selling them a phone contract.

The project also looked at ‘Payday Loans’, these types of loans help people get money fast, but they cost a lot more in the future and people can get in big debt that is hard to pay back.  These debts can affect people’s credit rating and even land people in court, so it’s important the people in the APY Lands are aware of other options.

We spoke to Anangu about payday loans and one of the biggest reasons for needing a loan was for the holiday season.  Christmas is an expensive time and a lot of people travel to see family.  Here are a few things you can do to prepare for this time of year:

  • Christmas club – some banks have a Christmas account that can be used to keep money safe until November.
  • Savings – Ask MoneyMob for help to make a plan to save money
  • Centrepay – if you are going to travel you can set up a Centrepay to Bush Bus or Bush Bee at the start of the year.  This will help pay for your tickets by Christmas

Don’t forget about our NILS program, Mervyn is our NILS worker and he can help with applying for a NILS loan for things like; furniture, white goods or even a car with Step-Up loans.

Look out for some of the deadly loans and phones posters in your community.  Stage 2 will begin in March 2019, we can’t wait to have Deanne back next year!

If you are having problems with a phone bill or a loan debt, MoneyMob can help, bring your papers and talk to one of our staff.

Staff training in Darwin

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In August, Ingrid, Devina and Zeni travelled to Darwin to do the Money Business Kit Training. Here is what Devina had to say about the trip…

“It was a privilege that we were able to attend the ANZ Money Business Kit training which was held in Darwin. I gained so much knowledge and experience during the 2-day training. Being able to interact with the group and overcome my self-confidence as I made new friends who like myself, live and work in remote isolated communities. I had fun just learning and understanding money business in different ways for example – to save, to budget and even learning and understanding the history of money. All cultures have different values about money, for example in my culture, in the last 50 years on the APY Lands, Aboriginal people never had money, they would always trade for food, water, animal fur and never had numbers to count to ten. They would also share as they still share today. In today’s society, money has changed our people and is continuously changing the future of our people and of the way we live as we are still adjusting to the lifestyle.”

Help with Tax Return

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If you earn less than $60,000 a year and you do not get any money from a business you own, or Royalties, we might be able to help with your Tax Return.

Come and see us and bring;

  • All I.D. (drivers license, pension card, Medicare card)
  • Bank account details
  • MyGov account details if you have them
  • Payment Summary for you and partner
    • Work and Centrelink

Big phone bill troubles

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MoneyMob was recently successful in helping a lady to get a phone bill of $8,900 waived.  The lady was pressured into buying 3 mobile phones for her family. At the time, there was no mobile phone coverage in her community. She didn’t even get to use the phones, and she got stuck with the bill.  The lady was not able to have a home phone, because she had a big mobile phone bill that she hadn’t paid. She needed a home phone because there are sick people living in her house. MoneyMob argued that the contract was not fair, and the TIO (Telecommunications Ombudsman) agreed with us.  Now the lady’s big bill is gone, and she’s able to have her landline in the house on again.