First Nations advocates have welcomed the commencement of funeral grants as an ‘important first step’ for policyholders of troubled funeral insurer Youpla.

The financial collapse of Youpla, formerly known as the Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund, left tens of thousands of Aboriginal people out of pocket and hundreds without the means to bury loved ones.

In the wake of the insurers’ collapse it was revealed dozens of Aboriginal families were left unable to bury their loved ones, with some forced to leave them in morgues or apply for a ‘paupers funeral’ from their state government.

The Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney announced on Monday the launch of a benefits program providing financial assistance for families who have lost a loved one and were left without funeral insurance.

The program aims to honour Youpla policies that were active up until 1 April 2020 if the policyholder passed away after that date.

Around 500 families are estimated to be eligible for the assistance which runs until the end of November next year.

The Federal government is yet to announce its response for the estimated 30,000 people affected by the collapse of Youpla.

Wangkumara/Barkandji woman Lynda Edwards from Financial Counselling Australia is a part of the Save Sorry Business Coalition which has been advocating for those affected and says they will continue to work towards a resolution for the families and communities harmed.

“We are glad to see this emergency program open for the many grieving families who have been harmed by the collapse of Youpla. Sorry Business is a fundamental cultural practice that was stolen away and replaced with financial and cultural crisis.”

“The Save Sorry Business Coalition and many other First Nations advocates continue our deep conversations with Ministers Linda Burney and Stephen Jones to achieve an enduring resolution for the families and communities harmed. No one should be left behind.”