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Issue 17 - May 2014

Postcard from... the Northern Territory


The Money Workers Association of the Northern Territory (MWANT) is the professional body for financial counsellors and financial literacy educators in the Northern Territory. The Association provides training, professional development, networking opportunities and professional standards for their members.

Ameena Serao, Chair of MWANT, says that their members work within some of the most remote locations of Australia. By car, MWANT’s 95 members can travel between 800-900km away from their home/office base (such as Alice Springs, Katherine or Darwin), or they may take charter planes between 3-4 hours away. These distances mean they have limited referral resources and are reliant on Ombudsman services such as FOS to assist with client complaints and to help provide a voice for the financially vulnerable members of the community.

MWANT members deal with many different client complaints, including targeted scams, unfair contracts and credit disputes which often result in financial hardship.

Targeting scams and unfair contract disputes or complaints are particularly prevalent in the Northern Territory. English is a second or third language for the vulnerable Aboriginal population, who regularly accept what they are being told by creditors and sales people without question. For this reason, FOS plays a vital role for the Northern Territory consumer.

MWANT works with services like FOS to ensure they provide their members with the latest information to better assist clients. This is done through networking and training forums such as FOS’s three-hour forum in the Northern Territory at the Annual MWANT Conference in Alice Springs.

“We are looking forward to participating in the FOS Forum, as it will provide our members with the tools and knowledge to better assist clients” said Ameena.

“Knowledge is power, so we also look forward to continuing to develop the strong working relationship we have with FOS.”