Today, at the Resilient Women Summit in Sydney, we launched our Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) - one of 12 “trailblazer” companies to do so.
FIAP is a new initiative which aims to help industries improve delivery of affordable financial services for disadvantaged sectors of our community.
Our Managing Director Catherine Tanna, who spoke at the summit, says that as a provider of an essential service, we see firsthand how a lack of access to financial services can impact the community.
“For some people, our bill is just one of many piling up on the kitchen counter. Financial inclusion is about ensuring all Australians have access to affordable financial services and the support they need to live their lives,” Catherine says.
“We support vulnerable customers in a number of ways – through payment plans, matching payment opportunities, debt waivers, and other initiatives. But we recognised a broader approach was needed and through our FIAP more Australians will get the help and support they need.”
The FIAP sets out a program of actions aimed at helping people achieve financial security and independence. This includes improving all our employees understanding of why and how customers face financial exclusion, particularly groups over-represented in hardship statistics, to help them better support these customers.
Our Vulnerability and Recovery Leader Briar Hall says that at its heart the program is about doing the right thing.
“Whether they’re women, refugees, sufferers of family violence or just someone going through a particularly tough time, people need to know they don’t have to struggle alone to keep their lights on. There’s support available,” Briar says.
The actions in our FIAP can’t be achieved by us alone, that’s why we are working with community groups, advocacy groups and partners in business to lead this change.
“Being a trailblazer means making a commitment to fairness. It means working with communities, other businesses, customer advocates and government toward a financial system where everyone is included,” says Catherine.
Adam Mooney, CEO Good Shepherd Microfinance, says he is excited to have EnergyAustralia among the first 12 companies in the FIAP program.
“Organisations participating in the FIAP program see corporate social responsibility as more than just a box that has to be ticked. They believe they have a role to play in creating a fairer, more connected community – one where everyone benefits from inclusive economic growth,” Adam says.