Bill's Media Releases

Tens of millions waiting to be claimed

The Member for Maribyrnong, Bill Shorten, is urging people living in Melbourne’s western suburbs to check whether they have unclaimed money sitting in dormant accounts, by using a free search service at www.moneysmart.gov.au.

Mr Shorten said the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s database of unclaimed money has risen to a record $677 million this year, with $92,410,867 coming from the Melbourne region.

“It’s likely that some proportion of that windfall belongs to people living in Melbourne’s western suburbs, and my electorate of Maribyrnong,” Mr Shorten said.

“The biggest single unclaimed sum in Melbourne is over $718,000 which is unclaimed because of lost shareholder details.

“It’s actually surprisingly easy to misplace money, through a simple mistake like forgetting to update your address when you move,” Mr Shorten said.

“And it’s clear from the record amount of unclaimed money available this year that people are overlooking or forgetting where their money is, as they become busier with their daily lives.”

Last year, Australians recovered $56 million using ASIC’s Unclaimed Money Service.

ASIC can access unclaimed money from:

  • bank, credit union or building society accounts;

  • shares; and

  • life insurance policies.


You may have unclaimed money if you:

  • haven’t made a transaction on your cheque or savings account for over seven years;

  •  stopped making payments on a life insurance policy;

  •  moved without leaving a forwarding address;

  •  have noticed that regular dividend or interest cheques have stopped coming; or

  •  were the executor of a deceased estate.


Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Bernie Ripoll, said the Gillard Government wants to make sure as many people as possible can benefit from this service.

“To search for unclaimed money go to MoneySmart, click on the link to unclaimed money and type in your name. You can even search for family.

“If you find some money that you think might be yours, you’ll need to prove the money belongs to you or that you are the beneficiary. Information on how to make a claim is also available on the MoneySmart website,” said Mr Ripoll.

The Government announced reforms in the mid-year Budget update that will deliver a better deal for people who have lost bank accounts and life insurance policies, by helping to reunite lost accounts with their owners sooner, and preventing them from being eroded by fees and inflation.

Under the changes, most inactive bank accounts and life insurance policies will be transferred to ASIC after three years of inactivity, rather than seven years.

This will ensure lost bank accounts are better protected from erosions by fees and charges.

For the first time, interest will be paid on unclaimed moneys held by ASIC at the rate of CPI inflation, from 1 July 2013.  The interest earned will be tax-free.

Searching ASIC’s unclaimed money database is free and can be accessed at www.moneysmart.gov.au/tools-and-resources/find-unclaimed-money.

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Suburbs in the Maribyrnong electorate include: Aberfeldie, Airport West, Albion, Avondale Heights, Brooklyn (part), Essendon, Essendon North, Essendon West, Kealba, Keilor East, Keilor Park, Maribyrnong (part), Moonee Ponds, Niddrie, St Albans (part), Sunshine, Sunshine North and Tullamarine (part).

 

Media Contact:  Jayne Edwards/Kieran Barns-Jenkins 9326 1300