Indigenous consumers were the focus the TIO’s recent awareness raising efforts, which included a trip to Darwin in late October.
About a third of the Northern Territory’s population of some 230,000 people is Indigenous, with many living in remote communities. Through our conversations with financial counsellors, money management workers and government agencies, we gauged some of the issues faced by Indigenous consumers and how to best make them aware of the TIO’s services.
The TIO was invited to Darwin to the conference of the recently formed Money Workers of the Northern Territory (MWANT). Although not as established as its counterpart financial counselling organisations in other states, MWANT is just as active. Many of the attendees of the conference had Indigenous clients and were keen to know about our services as one of the issues discussed at the conference was mobile phones in Indigenous communities.
In Darwin, TIO Community Liaison Manager Phillip Money visited the Northern Territory Library, whose staff have been involved in the Regional Indigenous Public Internet Access (RIPIA) project. This project delivers public internet access facilities, maintenance and basic computer training to 40 remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory who cannot afford to pay for commercial telecommunications services.
Phillip spoke to the library staff with a view to gauging the extent of any telecommunications problems experience by the communities they visit and as a possible way of providing information about the TIO to the members of those communities.
Phillip also spoke with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), and the Department of Families, Community Housing and Indigenous Affairs about telecommunications issues affecting Indigenous consumers in the Northern Territory and how to raise awareness of the TIO in remote communities.