Page 1279 - Week 04 - Thursday, 21 March 2013

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Manufacturers supporting the event were Honda, and the sponsors were Brindabella Motor Sport Club, the Tradies, the Australian Rally Championship and the Confederation of Australian Motor Sports. Supporters for the event were Motorsports Photography,, Smoothline Stage Notes, Australian Sports Commission and WICEN, our ACT amateur radio club that help on events such as the rally, but they also do other events such as cycling and off-road events. They go and report from stage to stage and, if necessary, call in any emergency services needed.

Education—saver plus

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (4.34): Tonight I rise to highlight the achievements of the saver plus initiative in assisting families with education costs while developing and rewarding budgeting skills amongst low income parents, guardians or students. Since 2006 over 375 people from the Canberra and Queanbeyan region have benefited from saver plus and saved over $215,000 to put towards educational expenses. The scheme is primarily delivered by the Smith Family in our region.

Saver plus aims to assist people on lower incomes to build their financial skills and to develop a savings habit. It works by matching client savings as part of a larger financial education program called money minded. The scheme encourages participants to save by matching their savings dollar for dollar up to $500. This money can be used to pay for educational costs such as computers, books, uniforms and school excursions.

To be eligible, participants must have a Centrelink health card or pensioner concession card. They must be at least 18 years old, have some regular income from work and be a parent or guardian of a child at school or be attending or returning to vocational education themselves. People wanting to join the scheme in the ACT apply to the Smith Family. Their saver plus worker assists them to identify the specific educational costs they want to save for. They then make regular deposits into an ANZ progress saver account and attend the money minded workshops to build their budgeting skills.

Saver plus was developed by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the ANZ bank in 2002. Since then it has helped more than 14,000 people Australia-wide. The saver plus national office at the Brotherhood of St Laurence manages the program’s central administration while a range of charities deliver the program in different regions. The program is funded by the ANZ bank and the Australian government through the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. The Australian government re-funded the program in 2011 for a further four years in 61 communities across Australia.

Part of the brilliance of this scheme is that it helps to educate both students and parents or guardians. By targeting educational costs, saver plus encourages saving for a tangible educational benefit. Canberrans are especially conscious of the importance of education and the benefits it brings to life, both to the individual and to our community. The saver plus scheme gives low income parents and students a hand up through the understanding and tools to address the financial challenges they face. It gives them back their power.

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