Sometimes it can be hard for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to do little things like open a bank account or make a superannuation claim because the financial institution needs identification documents our First Nations people don't have. Some people don't have birth certificates, have their name misspelled, have different dates of birth, go by skin names or observe cultural practice to change names when there is a death in the community. In the last ten years it became even harder because the rules became even stricter under laws designed to stop money laundering and financing terrorism. It was like a big fishing net aiming to catch the big fish but instead caught the little fish as well. This is about to change.
Now financial institutions are being more flexible for First Nations people, recognising they have been caught up and excluded from even basic financial products and services. The First Nations Foundation has been working hard with the Financial Services Council and the Indigenous Superannuation Working Group to finally bring some common sense to the issue.
Now it is possible for banks, superannuation, insurance companies to accept other identification to help First Nations people prove their identity. References from community elders, CEOs of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community organisations, doctors or even people who have known you for a long time can be given to help prove who you are.
So if you know anyone who is having trouble with identification, ask the financial institution if they will accept a reference, as recommended by AUSTRAC.
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