21 July, 2022
Data reveals extent of funeral fund collapse
NEW data has revealed that more than 200 indigenous people in Mareeba have been caught up in the collapse of the funeral fund, Youpla (ACBF).
The fund has gone into liquidation and is the subject of legal action by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) amidst calls for the Federal Government to step in to assist those who have been affected.
Mob Strong Debt Help financial counsellor Bettina Cooper said the collapse of the fund had left many out of pocket with no way of recovering the money they had invested which would have been used to pay for funeral costs.
“The collapse of the funeral fund Youpla (ACBF) is having a devastating cultural and financial impact on First Nations communities across Australia,” Ms Cooper said.
“Youpla targeted people who were doing the right thing by trying to ease the financial burden on their families when they passed.
Instead, these families are in a state of deep despair, facing financial and cultural crisis.”
New data released by Youpla’s liquidators, SV Partners, on 5 July shows that Mareeba is seventh on the list for the number of people affected in different communities throughout Australia.
The data shows that a minimum of 20,000 people across Australia were affected by Youpla, including nearly 10,000 from Queensland, over 8,000 from New South Wales and over 1,000 from Victoria.
There are over 40 postcodes in Australia with 50 or more people affected by the collapse of the fund, but Yarrabah was hit the hardest, with 786 people affected by Youpla in a town with only 525 homes.
Yarrabah resident Agnes Neal held a policy from 2006 until the fund’s sudden liquidation earlier this year.
“I feel betrayed. It’s left me traumatised, angry and stressed.
I’m stressed and wondering where am I going to go from here? We need the Federal Government to step in,” Ms Neal said.
The Save Sorry Business coalition is calling on the Federal Government to urgently assist people caught in the collapse of Youpla.
“It’s time for the new Federal Government to get up, stand up and show up for First Nations peoples,” Ms Cooper said.
“Elders are being left in morgues as the money their families were relying on to pay for Sorry Business disappeared overnight.
“The new Federal Government has an opportunity to show its commitment to improving the wellbeing of First Nation peoples.
“We are calling on the Federal Government to compensate all current and former customers of Youpla.
“Federal government action will help prevent further intergenerational harm and debt.
“Delay in any government response leaves families vulnerable to predatory lenders having no choice but to take out loans with high fees and charges to meet the cultural obligations of Sorry Business.
“This is expanding the gap rather than closing it,” she added.