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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2021) . . Page.. 403 ..

I want to talk a bit about the numbers with regard to the banking programs currently being operated by P&Cs in our schools. We estimate that the total revenue that is received from all the P&Cs together is around $20,000. That is across all schools. That is around $2,000 for one school. That is the maximum amount for one school. It is a very small amount of money, but important, nonetheless.

The ACT government has been providing grants to P&Cs over the last couple of years, and in the last year we provided $178,403 to P&Cs to continue their engagement with parents in their schools. So far, these grants have totalled $467,521. I understand that Mr Hanson will be talking to an amendment to this motion, and I just want to provide that information so that it is clear that the government is already supporting P&Cs.

That is what this transition is about—making sure that we work with P&Cs, which have been doing the heavy lifting in their schools and engaging parent communities. We want to make sure that they can continue to do that work and that there are grants available to support them in doing that, because for some school communities, school banking programs have been an important opportunity to reach parents. Those grants are up to $20,000 to strengthen family and school partnerships. I just wanted to assure the Assembly that the ACT government already supports parents and citizens organisations. A transition period at the start of this year will assist P&Cs to continue to engage with families and parents, and the ACT government can support them financially through those grant programs. I am happy to support Mr Davis’s motion today.

MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (3.20): The opposition will be supporting Mr Davis’s motion. Before I go to the substance of the debate, I highlight that describing the Dollarmites program and the various other programs that have been run to support financial literacy as grubby and to talk about institutions as dodgy businesses is an unnecessary slur. I do not think that it adds to the debate. I appreciate that it might help Mr Davis in his particular constituency when he is trying to rally the troops. If we are going to have substantive debates in this place about programs that involve literally hundreds, and potentially thousands, of parents and children in the ACT, to describe the program that they have been participating in over the years as grubby and dodgy does not really add anything to the debate.

I make the point as well that there is parental choice around this. This has not been imposed on parents or children. I acknowledge that the minister spoke about the work done by P&Cs and volunteers on this. I thank her for doing so and for not using the same unhelpful rhetoric that we heard from Mr Davis. As I said, we will be supporting this motion. I will, as the minister alluded to, be moving an amendment which I think improves the motion.

The motivation for this motion arises from a December 2020 ASIC report. The report undertook to identify why banks, schools and students engage with the programs, to understand whether banks assess the impacts on students’ savings habits, and to analyse the long-term impact of marketing through these programs on children. ASIC made four key findings. The first was that school banking programs claim to help children develop long-term savings habits; however, providers were unable to demonstrate that these programs, in and of themselves, improve savings behaviour.

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