The ANZ Seeds of Renewal program has been running since 2003, and during this time the program has provided more than $3 million in funding to 635 community projects across Australia.
Throughout the course of the program, the focus has shifted to specifically enhance education and employment opportunities in rural, regional and remote areas, with preference given to projects that benefit communities with a population of fewer than 15,000 people.
The ANZ Seeds of Renewal program demonstrates ANZ’s commitment to making a positive contribution to life in regional Australia, by helping to build thriving communities with locally led and implemented education and employment opportunities - evident in the community stories detailed below.
In the 2013/14 financial year, 41 communities across rural Australia shared $250,000 in grants. This brought the total funds distributed during the 10 years of this program to more than $3 million, which has been shared across 635 community projects.
Horticultural workers learn financial skills for all seasons
Robinvale, Victoria, is known for its production of grapes, olives, carrots and almonds. During the six month harvest and pruning season, Robinvale’s population fluctuates with semi-skilled horticultural workers from the Pacific Islands, predominantly Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.
For the Pacific Seasonal Workers, this type of work can make a huge difference to their families’ financial situations. On average, their home country salary would be $1,200 per annum and in Robinvale they can make approximately $18,000 per annum. With this extreme increase in salary, many of the workers struggle to use their money wisely.
Seasonal workers receive financial support
Robinvale Network House received a 2013 ANZ Seeds of Renewal grant of $8,600 to assist the Pacific Seasonal Workers' community to better manage their money and set financial goals.
The program, called Crucial Money Management, focused on goal setting and provided free workshops on financial literacy, internet banking and ANZ products and social media and IT training (mobile phone plans, Skype, Facebook, etc). Across the five workshops, there were over 140 participants.
Tangible results – the proof is in the numbers:
- Many participants set up separate accounts for direct deposits from their wages for savings and emergency funds;
- Seven participants set up accounts with specific withdrawal limits for family members;
- Twelve participants are using ANZ internet banking to send money home to their families;
- Four participants changed phone plans to better suit their usage;
- Eight participants installed Skype to cost-effectively call their families overseas;
- Many participants set up Facebook accounts to keep in contact with friends and family at home;
- Twelve participants from PNG bought a shared car to travel to and from work; and
- Majority of participants achieved their short-term goals and were able to purchase ‘luxury’ items.
Local volunteers lend their support
With strong community support, the Crucial Money Management program has been a great success! ANZ branch staff volunteered their time in the workshops, as did TreeMinders, the company that employ Pacific Seasonal Workers, who were actively involved throughout the program.
The Seeds of Renewal funding helped this project to increase financial literacy and encouraged the participants to handle their financial affairs more competently.