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First Nations advocates welcome Full Court Decision on ACBF

For immediate release - 29 February 2024 2 mins read

First Nations financial counsellors, advocates and policyholders from the Save Sorry Business Coalition have welcomed the Full Court upholding ASIC’s case against ACBF Funeral Plans Pty Ltd (ACBF) and Youpla Group Pty Ltd (Youpla).

The Full Court found that the trial judge failed to properly consider the evidence ASIC presented in the original hearing. That evidence supported the community’s view that the Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund (ACBF) was not Aboriginal owned during the relevant period.

Mark Holden, Dunghutti man and Aboriginal Senior Solicitor at Mob Strong Debt Help said: “This decision vindicates what many consumer advocates have been arguing for decades - that ACBF misled their customers for their own benefit”.

Consumer advocates have fought ACBF for decades on their systemic misrepresentation and how that has been deceiving First Nations clients. This decision only covers a three-year period of ACBF’s operations from 2015 to 2018 but its outcome would justify what we have been saying all along: ACBF lied to their customers about being First Nations owned.

The ACBF decision sets an important precedent on misrepresentation of First Nations ownership or ‘black-cladding’. In the future we will be able to identify and take action against black-cladding so legitimate First Nations owned organisations are able to flourish and support their community.

Mr Holden commented: “We hope that this decision will deter other businesses from considering black-cladding and instead work to support First Nations organisations”.

He continued: “There is still much more to be done to respond to fix up the mess created by the collapse of ACBF. The recently announced Youpla Support Scheme and Enduring resolution is an important step forward but we still need to look at the detail. We are very keen to see the outcome of ASIC proceedings against five of the former ACBF directors for breaching their Directors Duties under the Corporations Act”.

“Sorry Business is still a very expensive cost and no one wants to burden their family with it. Youpla’s collapse left consumers resorting to risky financial products like funeral insurance, which has a high chance of leaving you without a funeral when you pass away. There are some better alternatives on MoneySmart to save for sorry business but it still does not reduce the price of a funeral”.

Useful contacts

● Mob Strong Debt Helpline - 1800 808 488 or www.facebook.com/mobstrongdebthelp
● Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network - 1800 369 878 or www.ican.org.au
● Financial Counselling Australia - www.financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au


About us:

About Youpla/ACBF and the Save Sorry Business Coalition

For 30 years, the Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund, trading as Youpla, aggressively sold poor-value funeral plans to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia.

The Save Sorry Business Coalition is a First Nations-led campaign supported by 130 organisations and over 20,000 Australians seeking a fair and enduring resolution for First Nations people harmed by the misleading and deceptive conduct of Youpla and the massive and prolonged failure of government and regulators over two decades.


Contact details:

Sarah Wilson | sarah.wilson@financialrights.org.au | 0402 940 743

Julia Davis | Julia.davis@financialrights.org.au | 0478 504 634

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