How Bush Money Mob began
EGFA director, Alan Gray, is a registered financial counsellor (NRN 10025) who has worked with remote Aboriginal people in the Kimberley region for several years.
In this time it has become obvious that people in remote communities ‘miss out’ on seeing financial counsellors if they live far from ‘the ribbon of bitumen’ where all Kimberley financial counselling agencies are based.
Alan and fellow EGFA director, Judith Gray, have both worked with people from remote communities and have seen the need for more targeted FC services.
They have both also travelled extensively throughout the most remote parts of the Kimberley and East Pilbara for decades and are familiar and comfortable travelling in this country.
So they asked the Board of EGFA to support the expansion of EGFA’s programs to include domestic financial counselling to complement the 13 years of Aid Development work EGFA has conducted in Nepal.
Special General Meeting
On 30 March 2020 EGFA conducted a Special General Meeting at its Broome office where EGFA members unanimously supported a change to the written Constitution and Rules of EGFA. This change consisted of the following:
• Expanding the aims to include public benevolent activities targeted at financial counselling in remote Indigenous communities.
• Directing the Chairperson of EGFA (Alan Gray) to develop a domestic program of financial counselling.
• Including a ‘revocation clause’ in the amended Constitution so that, if EGFA ever wound up, any assets would be distributed to a likeminded organisation that holds DGR (Deductible Gift Recipient) status.
Charities Commission Assessment
EGFA next applied to the ACNC (the Australian Charities and Non for profit Commission) to expand EGFA’s charity registration to include the Public Benevolent Institution (PBI) sub-type.
This assessment was complicated and detailed and the ACNC looked at all aspects of EGFA’s current operations including policies, procedures, audited books of account, safeguarding of children in Nepal and more.
Eventually the ACNC granted the PBI status to EGFA on 5 August.
The ACNC then referred the EGFA application to the ATO, who undertook further assessment of EGFA’s operations.
Then on 12 August 2020 the ATO granted DGR status Type 1 to EGFA.
This means that any future gifts to EGFA for Bush Money Mob activities will be fully tax-deductible.
Financial counselling registration
In the meantime, EGFA had applied to the WA branch of the Financial Counselling Association (FCAWA) for registration as an FC agency. This application was assessed and accepted, subject to the usual guidelines and annual registration requirements for financial counsellors.
Financial counsellors must complete set hours of Supervision, and Continuing Professional Development work, and abide by a formal Code of Ethics to maintain their annual registration.
How BMM will operate in future
Bush Money Mob will begin to seek funding to deliver broader, more systematic financial counselling to remote Kimberley community members. It will seek to work in partnership with like-minded organisations for matters such as: legal assistance for clients, referrals to other agencies, and collaboration on national advocacy campaigns.
Flying in to the remote WA desert community of Ringers Soak to meet with financial counselling clients, July 2020.