Form Section Structure
 
 

Sign the open letter to #SaveSorryBusiness

Join over 125 organisations and thousands of people calling on the incoming government to support First Nations peoples affected by the collapse of the Youpla (ACBF) funeral fund.

Campaign Section Structure

 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that this website may contain the stories, names, images, or quotes of people now passed and resting in the Dreaming.

UPDATE: The government has announced that it will honor benefits for policyholders of the collapsed funeral fund, Youpla, who had an active policy as at 1 April 2020 so they can cover their funeral and Sorry Business costs. This is an important step forward and the Save Sorry Business Coalition will continue working with the government to develop an enduring resolution for the remaining policy holders over the next 18 months.

First Nations leaders and consumer advocates have delivered this open letter calling on the government to support peoples affected by the collapse of the Youpla (ACBF) funeral fund. You can still add your name in support as we continue to campaign for a long term resolution for all Youpla (ACBF) policy holders.

See the letter below and add your name too: 

To the Treasurer,

For decades, the private funeral insurance company ‘Youpla’ (also known as ACBF) has aggressively sold poor value funeral plans to First Nations peoples. 

Now this company has collapsed, leaving thousands of people unable to access funeral plans they had paid for to cover the cost of grieving loved ones through Sorry Business. 

Funerals and Sorry Business play a special cultural role in First Nations communities. Youpla sought to deliberately exploit communities through loopholes in financial laws and consumer protections. Successive governments and regulators have been on notice of this misconduct and the regulatory gaps that facilitated it for nearly three decades and did nothing to prevent it.

Over ten thousand First Nations peoples have lost access to a product they have paid for, and we must act.

We call on the Federal Government to urgently support First Nations peoples who have been affected by the collapse of funeral insurer Youpla, and to ensure this can’t happen again.

This is one of the worst financial scandals we've ever seen. The Youpla (ACBF) funeral fund has caused direct harms to First Nations communities by:

  • Misleading policyholders into believing they were dealing with an Aboriginal owned or controlled organisation, run for the benefit of First Nations peoples.

  • Aggressively selling expensive and poor value funeral plans (including via door to door sales tactics), and actively selling policies to children and young people.

  • Charging unfair premiums, including higher costs for medical conditions that are most common amongst First Nations communities and even refusing to pay claims after suicides.

  • Purposefully evolving its business model to avoid regulation.

The Financial Services Royal Commission exposed Youpla (ACBF) for systematic misleading and deceptive conduct. In 2018, the Commission investigated the company — but this wasn’t the first time the company has been taken to task. Youpla has been subject to complaints by First Nations peoples and consumer advocates for decades as well as regulatory action from ASIC including in the courts, but it was not enough to stop the poor practices continuing. The harm created by Youpla is squarely a result of an inadequate regulatory framework. The harm created by Youpla should never have been allowed to continue.

People are hurting now. More than ten thousand First Nations people have lost funeral coverage for their families, many after decades of paying premiums. As the company has gone into liquidation, these payments cannot be recovered.  

Community organisations and financial counsellors have been inundated with hundreds of calls a day from people who are deeply distressed, betrayed and humiliated. People have paid for funeral cover to ensure their families can carry out Sorry Business and grieve together — not to be left with the challenges of intergenerational debt and hardship. 

Youpla shouldn’t have been allowed to sell these funeral policies. Now the worst has happened, we must make this right. 

Your Government has the opportunity to right this wrong and stop further harm by stepping up to support the First Nations peoples affected by this company's appalling failures.

Who has signed the open letter?

Mob Strong Debt Help

Financial Counselling Australia

Broome CIRCLE 

Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network

Consumer Action Law Centre

CHOICE

 

Aboriginal Legal Service WA

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Network Qld

ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS)

ADA Law

Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia

Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service

Anglicare Australia

Anglicare Northern Territory 

Anglicare Victoria

Australian Council of Social Services

Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees

Australian Services Union - Victorian and Tasmanian Authorities and Services Branch

Bara Barang NSW

Ballarat & Grampians Community Legal Service

Bush Money Mob

Cairns Community Legal Centre

Caloundra Community Centre

Care Inc Financial Counselling Service

Care Goondiwindi 

Central Australian Women’s Legal Service

Centre for Women's Economic Safety
City of Cockburn Financial Counselling Service

Community Legal Centres Australia

Community Legal Centre Tasmania

Consumer Credit Legal Service (WA)

Consumers Federation of Australia

Cooktown District Community Centre

Council to Homeless Persons

Darwin Community Legal Service

Disability Advocacy Victoria  

Djarindjin Aboriginal Corporation

EACH

Eastern Community Legal Centre

Elizabeth Morgan House Aboriginal Women's Service

FamilyCare

Federation of Community Legal Centres Vic Inc

Finance Sector Union

Financial Counselling Network

Financial Counseling Victoria Inc.

Financial Counsellors Association of NSW

Financial Counsellors of Western Australia

Financial Rights Legal Centre

Fitzroy Legal Service

Flat Out 

Foothills Information & Referral Service

Foundation for Young australians

Good Shepherd

Gosnells Community Legal Centre

Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service Aboriginal Corporation

HK Training & Consultancy 

Hobart Community Legal Service 

Homelessness Australia

Human Rights Law Centre

Hume Riverina Community Legal Service

Illawarra Legal Centre

Indigenous Peoples' Organisation-Australia

Industry Super Australia

Inner Melbourne Community Legal

JobWatch

Juno

Justice Connect

Katherine Women's Information and Legal Service

Kempsey Neighbourhood Centre

Kimberley Community Legal Services

Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation

Kurnai Legal Practice

Law and Advocacy Centre for Women

Lismore & District Financial Counselling Service

Madjulla Incorporated

Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers

Melbourne City Mission

Mental Health Legal Centre

Mid North Coast Legal Centre

Money Mentors

National Seniors Australia

National Legal Aid 

Ngunga Group Womens Aboriginal Corporation

North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA)

Northern Community Legal Centre

Northern Territory Council of Social Services (NTCOSS)

North Queensland Combined Women's Services

North Queensland Women's Legal Service

NSW Aboriginal Land Council

New South Wales Council of Social Service (NCOSS)

Peninsula Community Legal Centre

Picabeen Community Association 

Port Douglas Community Service Network 

Public Interest Advocacy Centre

Queensland Consumers Association

Redfern Legal Centre

Refugee Legal

Regional Alliance West 

Renters And Housing Union 

Rights Information and Advocacy Center 

Rural West

Shelter Housing Action Cairns Association 

Shoalcoast Community Legal Centre

South Australian Council of Social Service

South Australian Financial Counsellors Association

South East Community Links

Southport Community Legal Service

St Vincent de Paul Society National Council

Super Consumers Australia

Tasmanian Council of Social Service (TasCOSS)

Tenants' Union of NSW

Tenants Victoria

Tender Funerals Australia

The Nintirri Centre 

Top End Women's Legal Service

Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania

Uniting Vic.Tas

Uniting WA

Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service

Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS)

Western Australian Council of Social Service (WACOSS)

West Heidelberg Community Legal

WEstjustice

Women's Legal Services Australia

Women's Legal Service NSW

Women's Legal Service (SA)

Women's Legal Service Victoria

Wuchopperen Health Service Limited

YFS

Yorganop

YouthLaw

Prominent signatories of this open letter include:

Professor Elise Bant | Professor Robyn Carroll | Emeritus Professor Kevin Davis | Professor Natalie Skead

Alison Lehmann
Alistair Montfort
Amber Willimott
Anne Rodda
Anne Whitehouse
Barbara Bard
Ben Slade
Bernadette Crane
Caleb Leitmanis
Carly Forrest
Carol Eapen
Carolyn Staurt
Ceri Hughes
Christine May
Christopher Heckenberg
Ciara Sterling
Claire Bettington
Corita Adams
Daniel Scoullar
Danielle Riley
Daphne Naden
Darryl Tranby
David Close
David Cousins (Dr)
David Newport
Desley Niccoli
Diana David
Elyse Hoskins
Eva Hatten
Fiona Hutton JP
Gerard Regan
Gerry Sandford
Heidi Edwards
Hilde Tubex (Dr)
Jan Sweeton
Jedda Riley
Jenni Mack
Jenny Dewsbury
Jenny Lovric
Jo Benvenuti
Joanne Hunt
Joanne Potter
John Ashes (Dr)
John Rawson
Kali Sailor
Karinda Burns
Katherine Scully
Keri Standford
Kim Perkins
Lee Lim
Leeanne Griffiths
Leonie Ligertwood
Lody Stewart
Louise Magill
Lucas Rutten
Marina Tucker
Mark Wischnat
Merlene Price
Merrilee Lands
Michael Dunkley
Michael P D'Elia
Nina Franceschi
Nyssa Millington
Odette Shenfield
Peter McCullagh
Raewyn Darlington
Raymond Wilson
Ron Ben-David (Dr)
Ronald Chan
Ronald Rowley
Sandra Murphy
Scotia Monkivitch
Shaquille Robinson
Shardai Charters
Sharlene Leroy-Dyer (Dr)
Sharon Gousteris
Sharon Sticklen
Sheena Colquhoun
Sheryn Exton
Siobhan Meerman
Stephanie Moore
Sue Bateman
Susan Boag
Tiffany McComsey (Dr)
Tracey Evans
Tracey Walsh
Tracy Collier
Ursula Corvan
Verneice Snider
Vesna Horley
Vincent Boyle
Vivien Johnson
Wendy Brown 
Wendy Leahy

Learn more

1. What is Youpla?  

Youpla (which until recently traded as the Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund) aggressively sold poor value funeral insurance to First Nations communities. It marketed itself as “Australia’s only funeral insurance plan dedicated to the Aboriginal community.” However, Youpla was not Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander owned or managed. It was not affiliated with or sponsored by any First Nations organisation. Youpla preyed on the cultural importance of Sorry Business in First Nations Communities.

For almost three decades, the Federal Government and regulators have known about the harms caused by Youpla but they failed to assist First Nations consumers and allowed the funeral insurance fund to operate. Up until recently, policymakers allowed Youpla to operate without a financial services license and to continue trading.

In March 2022, the fund collapsed. Policyholders who were trying to do the right thing by their families and community are likely to lose everything unless the Federal Government steps in.

2. What is Sorry Business?  

Sorry Business is a time of mourning that involves funerals and related cultural activities and is of special, cultural significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Sorry Business can cost on average between $6,000 to $15,000, so many people make sacrifices to pay for insurance policies to cover expenses. Youpla exploited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who were trying to do the right thing by their families by selling poor value funeral policies to cover Sorry Business expenses.

3. I'm a customer of Youpla (ACBF). What should I do?

Mob Strong Debt Help and the Financial Rights Legal Centre has independent advice available for current and former Youpla/Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund policy holders here.

4. Will my name appear on this page after I sign on?  

Once you sign on, your name will be added to our open letter and presented to the incoming government. Your name won't be published on this website as we can't fit everyone here, but it will be crucial in helping convince the government to step in to support First Nations consumers.

5. How do I add my organisation?

If you represent an organisation who would like to add their name to this campaign, you can get in touch here.

About the #SaveSorryBusiness design

The Save Sorry Business design was developed by Dixon Patten at Bayila Creative. The logo represents a smoking – an important part of ceremony for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples. Smoking ceremonies are used for burial, celebration, healing and cleansing, and are also a gesture of goodwill, bringing people together. Smoking ceremonies can also be a way of connecting with country by speaking to and acknowledging ancestors.

Learn More Campaign Anchor

Learn more

Error Modal Container
Scripts Block