Realtime payments, any hour, any day of the week
Australians will now be able to make instant electronic payments at any time of the day, with the launch of the New Payments Platform (NPP). The Nationals-Liberal Government welcomed the launch of the new platform, which is set to revolutionise the payments process for millions of Australians, making payments faster and simpler for consumers and businesses. Using the NPP, Australians will be able to transfer money to each other instantly, 24/7, on any day of the week, including weekends and public holidays. This overhaul of the payments system means Australians will no longer have to wait for bank transfers and payments to arrive in their account.
Gone will be the days of frustrating three-day waits for transfers between accounts of different banks. Customers will be able to securely pay businesses, split restaurant bills with their friends, and pay a tradesperson instantly. Customers will also be able to include more information with their payments, such as additional text, invoices and receipts. This simplified approach will help businesses to make payments quickly and efficiently and let them get back to running their business. As with any Australian financial services, consumers should continue to remain vigilant about scams asking them for payment or for logins and passwords. Customers should contact their financial institution if they have any suspicions about anyone asking for payment or account information.
Further information is available at www.nppa.com.au or from individual financial institutions.
10th anniversary of the Apology to Australia's Indigenous Peoples
The 10th anniversary of the Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples is an important time to reflect on the continued needs of those affected by government policies that removed Indigenous children from their families, communities and country.
Since the Apology, the Commonwealth has been investing in practical measures to support Stolen Generations. In 2017-18, the Nationals-Liberal Government is investing $44.4 million for a range of services that help support the Stolen Generations and their families such as counselling, family tracing and reunions and other healing activities. In addition, the Healing Foundation is allocated $6.6 million in 2017-18 to support and promote Indigenous healing throughout Australia.
However, as the Healing Foundation’s Bringing them Home Report 20 years on: an action plan for healing found last year, the needs of the Stolen Generations are changing as they age. It identified three action areas and four immediate priorities to help Stolen Generations heal and meet their contemporary needs.
The Government has carefully considered the Healing Foundation’s report and is working with the Healing Foundation on the further work recommended in their report. Following the report’s release, $1.375 million in additional funding was provided to the Healing Foundation to research the emerging needs of Stolen Generations members and their families, so we can continue to support them on their healing journey, improve the preservation of family records and develop trauma informed packages.
This funding will be used to implement the immediate priorities of the action plan and will support the Healing Foundation to also determine how to preserve and improve access to family records and for the development of a trauma informed training package for aged care service providers to better meet the needs of the Stolen Generations in aged care. The Healing Foundation is due to report to the Government on this work in April 2018.
Completion rates on the rise under VET Student Loans
New figures confirm a significantly higher percentage of students are successfully completing units of study under the Coalition Government’s VET Student Loans (VSL) program.
The second VET Student Loans Six Monthly report showed more positive signs from the VSL program. The unit completion rate for VSL-assisted students has increased more than six percentage points to 81.4 per cent for the second half of 2017, compared with the rate achieved in the transition period of the first six months.
Over the course of the reporting period, a total of 35,197 students had a VET Student Loan approved compared with 24,492 students in the first half of 2017. Loans paid for eligible courses rose to $114 million in the second half of 2017, up from $78 million paid in the first six months. The Diploma of Nursing continues to be the highest ranking course in terms of course enrolments and value of loans paid, consistent with the first half of 2017.
Since July, only fully-approved providers have been allowed to offer a VET Student Loan, with the Australian Government having introduced student progression measures and the VET Student Loans Ombudsman.