The collapse of funeral insurance company Youpla last month has sparked calls for compensation for the more than 13,000 Aboriginal people who now face losing every dollar they’ve put into the fund.
Formerly known as the Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund, Youpla Group entered liquidation in March – leaving families who’d spent thousands unable to pay for funerals and sorry business.
Stories have since emerged of Aboriginal families being forced to leave recently deceased loved ones in the morgue for up to three weeks while they attempt to raise money for a proper funeral.
Federal government offers of a state sponsored funeral have only angered those who say they’ve been left with nothing.
The financial difficulties facing the troubled insurance company since at least the 2017 Banking Royal Commission, where its exploitation of Aboriginal communities and sales tactics were roundly criticised.
But the insurer has had run-ins with ASIC since the early 1990s and in 1999 was handed a Federal Court order requiring it to include a disclaimer stating it was not connected with any Aboriginal person or government organisation.
Victoria’s Consumer Action Law Centre is one organisation that’s been advocating for federal government assistance, and is now calling for a redress scheme to be launched.
The law centre’s Koori Engagement Officer, Samantha Rudolph, says the government continues to ignore the issue.
“We’ve done a lot of the legwork by creating options, solutions, and government’s still don’t want to talk about it, essentially.
The actual federal government – the treasurer – don’t want to talk to us about the issue, which is really frustrating when numerous governments have known about ACBF [Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund] since 1992.”
Ms Rudolph said they had developed four different solutions for a redress scheme which would be finalised and shown to community members who are affected by the scheme’s collapse.