New report calls for coordinated action to address systemic financial inequity across Australia

A new report from the Centre for Social Impact at The University of New South Wales (CSI UNSW) calls for a coordinated response to address systemic factors that have created and continue to perpetuate financial hardship and poor financial wellbeing among individuals.

The report, Amplify Insights: Financial Wellbeing , shows that a person’s financial wellbeing is driven by a complex system of factors that, more often than not, are outside of an individual’s control.

It indicates, for example, that an individual’s personal factors such as attitude and income can go a long way to improving financial wellbeing.

However, other factors such as gender, race, institutional policies, government policies and world events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, can all work against an individual when looking to attain financial security.

The report calls for a coordinated approach to improving financial wellbeing in Australia. This means learning from and working with those who are already trying to address the big barriers to improving financial wellbeing, mapping what others are doing to identify strengths and gaps, and developing a strategy to address the drivers of financial wellbeing.

The authors are asking for organisations who want to be part of a leadership conversation to get involved.

The study’s lead researcher, Dr Jeremiah Brown, said that the report was the first of its kind in Australia to consider the broader system influencing financial outcomes in this way.

“When we started breaking down all these influences into micro (personal), meso (organisational) and macro (societal) factors, it became evident that while there are elements within a person’s control, an individual is at the mercy of any number of factors outside of their control – and when we looked at where these factors sit, it was clear that they occurred across the whole ecosystem around a person’s life,” said Dr Brown.

“We looked at a hypothetical scenario, a 36-year-old hospitality worker and mother, and discovered that things like her age, the casual nature of her work, the industry where she worked, the age of her child, and her relationship status all combined to work against her during the pandemic. There is very little within that description that is within her control, so it’s time we started addressing that.”