Family stand in front of hosue

When Opportunity Knocks

How a unique savings account helped a Mossman couple secure their dream home.

In a quiet street in Mossman, Sarah Backo and her partner, Lui Lockington gather their three kids together in front of a house for a photo, their youngest fidgetting in Lui’s arms, unaware of this moment’s significance.

It’s a photo that will become a marker in time – the moment the family moved into their very first home. But, like most photos, there’s more to the story.

Sarah, a proud First Nations woman connected to the Warrgamay people and Lui a proud Kuku Yalanji man, has just become the first to purchase a house using funds saved through Pama Platform’s Bayan Opportunity Account – a unique locked savings account designed to help aspiring homeowners save effectively.

“The house we’ve bought is about 60 years old,” Sarah said. “It’s got all these cool quirky bits about it… little areas where we can just go and have our own space. It's also got a cyclone shelter, which we use as a tool shed.”

With the family already living with Sarah’s mum to save money, Sarah signed up to the Pama Platform and opened a Bayan Opportunity Account in January 2022. She also completed many tasks on the app, including creating a detailed budget.

In the year that followed, Sarah, a primary school teacher, diligently saved more than $7,000 in her Bayan account. She also took advantage of Bayan's matched savings incentive, receiving $2,000 to match the first $2,000 she saved.

"The incentive of matching the $2,000 savings was probably the thing that kept me going," Sarah said. “It was the green light I needed to really start saving.”

An essential feature of the Bayan account is its locked functionality, which prevents savers from withdrawing their savings prematurely. Sarah acknowledged the importance of this feature in helping her save.

"If Bayan wasn’t locked, I might have still saved up, but I definitely would have gone and taken some out along the way," Sarah confesses.

“Lui never really likes to get excited about things,” Sarah said. “He wasn’t excited at all until I sent him a photo of the keys. And I was like, ‘It's literally ours!’ and then he was very excited.”

Sarah has become a strong advocate for the Bayan account, sharing her success story with friends and encouraging them to sign up.

“I do recommend Bayan to people, especially other couples in Mossman. The chances of young Indigenous families buying a home is really low,” Sarah said. “Hopefully with this program, it starts creeping up a bit.”

Sarah also has two READY Opportunity Accounts and a SET Opportunity Account to save for childhood and educational expenses for each of the kids.

“With the Opportunity Accounts for the kids, that's the kind of accounts you forget about,” Sarah said. “The money gets taken out every fortnight and then I feel like it's a bit of a bonus because I haven't touched it. For my 12-year-old, I've been putting it towards his school camp. It also went towards setting him up for Year 6 – so all the books, uniforms, even footy rego.”

With her family settling into their new home, Sarah looks forward to a future filled with possibilities.

"Lui really talks about the future now and what he wants to do around the house and what little projects are coming up. It’s ours!” Sarah said with a proud smile.

Sarah and Lui's story stands as an inspiring example of the power of the Bayan Opportunity Account. Their house will become a sanctuary where every quirky nook holds memories. A place they can always return to, regardless of where life's adventures might take them. The kids will grow older, and the plants a little taller, but that first photo will stay on the fridge as a reminder of what’s possible.



Scroll to Top