This report builds on previous work on financial resilience in Australia and represents the beginning of an exploration of the financial resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Overall, we found significant economic disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. This is not surprising, given the histories of land dispossession, stolen wages and the late entry of Indigenous Australians into free participation in the economy (it is only 50 years since the referendum to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as members of the Australian population).
The report finds:
- Only one in ten Indigenous Australians are financially secure.
- Fewer than two in five Indigenous people can access $2,000 for an emergency, compared with four in five in the broader Australian population
Severe financial stress is present for half the Indigenous population, compared with one in ten in the broader Australian population.
- Financial stress is occurring in urban, regional and remote locations.
- Indigenous people are using high-cost and unregulated forms of credit, rather than credit cards or other forms of mainstream credit.
- Indigenous people engage in a sharing economy, in which money has now entered as a commodity and shared money both helps and hurts financial resilience.
This research provides important insights for financial institutions that are seeking to better meet the needs of Indigenous peoples. This was an opportunity to talk with Indigenous Australians and hear about how they manage money and about their financial goals and aspirations.