Bauer Media’s Stop Elder Financial Abuse campaign, launched in partnership with the Australian Banking Association (ABA), has secured its first victory after all state governments agreed to baseline minimum standards for Power of Attorneys (POA) and to create a mandatory national online register.
Elderly Australians are being ripped off by family members impatient for their inheritance. It’s estimated that one in 10 older Australians experience financial abuse each year. Some 57 per cent of Australians say they are worried that a loved one will fall victim to this insidious practice.
The decision to begin work on establishing minimum standards for POA and a national POA register was made by Attorney-Generals from State and Territory governments at the Council of Attorneys-General (CAG) meeting held in Adelaide today.
Part of Bauer’s Financially Fit Females initiative, Stop Elder Financial Abuse was launched in August and supported across the publisher’s titles including The Australian Women’s Weekly, Woman’s Day, Harper’s BAZAAR, Australian House and Garden, Take 5, TV WEEK, and ELLE.
In October, Nicole Byers (main photo), editor-in-chief of The Australian Women’s Weekly, and Anna Bligh, CEO of the ABA, travelled to Canberra to launch the campaign at Parliament House, briefing politicians on the need to tackle this insidious problem.
Brendon Hill, CEO of Bauer Media said: “We welcome the decision made by governments to begin urgently needed reform around elder financial abuse and move to stamp it out. It’s a growing problem faced by many elderly Australians and coordinated action is needed to address it. This is the start of that.”
Byers added: “Bauer champions women of all ages and we’re delighted to have driven this campaign, working in partnership with the ABA and other interest groups. While important progress has been made there is still more to be done and we will continue to highlight the issue to our audiences and demand action from our politicians.”
Bligh said: “Today’s decisions by the nations attorneys general to establish a mandatory national online register of Power of Attorneys will empower bank branch staff who are often at the front line of detection of elder financial abuse.
“The leadership of the Federal Attorney General Christian Porter in taking this initiative to today’s Council of Attorneys General meeting was a critical turning point in this campaign.
“A mandatory national online register will help bank staff check to ensure a Power of Attorney is valid and up to date when a customer comes into a branch to complete transactions on someone else’s behalf.
“The campaign still has a long way to go, we need to see this register established as quickly as possible, completely standardised Power of Attorney laws across the country and a safe place to report abuse to help tackle elder financial abuse,” she said.
The decision is the latest win for Bauer Media as it continues to campaign on issues that impact women. At the end of last year, the Federal Government agreed to remove the GST on women’s sanitary products, including tampons, following 18-years of campaigning by many thousands of women and organisations across the country and Bauer’s ‘No Gender Selective Tax’ campaign.