The Queensland Government has taken decisive action to relieve the burden from Queenslanders who are doing it tough because of payday lenders.
Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman said the Good Money Store established at Southport has already received more than 500 inquiries and assisted dozens of people to reach a more stable financial position.
“We have partnered with Good Shepherd Microfinance and the National Australia Bank to open two Good Monday stores, including one on the Gold Coast, to provide an award-winning No Interest Loan Scheme,” Ms Fentiman said.
“We are also ensuring qualified financial counsellors are able to help resolve financial problems for families already trapped in unfair payday loan and lease schemes.
Visiting the Southport Good Money Store today, Ms Fentiman met Brett, who sought help getting back on his feet after having some trouble with payday lenders.
“Brett’s story is an all-too-familiar one, where a payday lender had charged exorbitant fees for a loan,” Ms Fentiman said.
“The Good Money Store was able to help him with a financial counsellor who could advocate on his behalf and secure a refund from the payday lender.”
Ms Fentiman said the Good Money Store could be of particular help to women escaping Domestic and Family Violence.
“We know that often women who make the brave decision to leave a violent relationship often do so with no financial backing,” she said.
Almost 60 per cent of inquiries to Good Money Stores have come from women.
Good Shepherd Microfinance chief executive officer Adam Mooney said the Southport Good Money store had already proven to be a huge success, with more than 500 client inquiries since opening in April.
“Good Money presents real options for people on low incomes, offering loans for no or low interest,” Mr Mooney said.
“Good Money is a place where people can get access to the No Interest Loan Scheme and affordable insurance and savings programs, and also speak with a financial counsellor when things get tough.
“Queensland is a trailblazer as the first State Government to develop and implement a Financial Inclusion Action Plan alongside 30 leading organisations, designed to have significant impact.”
Ms Fentiman said Queensland was doing its part to relieve the burden on vulnerable borrowers, but the Federal Government had to step and do its part.
She said vulnerable Queenslanders were being trapped with spiralling debt despite a review in March 2016 calling for a cap on payday loan repayments.
“The Federal Government was told that it had to act to limit the damage being done by payday lenders but so far nothing has happened,” Ms Fentiman said.
“The Small Amount Credit Contract Review made its recommendations in March 2016 but still the Federal Government has stood by while Queenslanders are hurting,” Ms Fentiman said.
The review recommended tighter Federal regulations including limiting payday loan repayments to 10 per cent of a borrower’s income.
“Failing to act on this recommendation has left too many people trapped at the hands of payday lenders,” Ms Fentiman said.
“I have written to the Federal Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer and asked her to act quickly on the recommendations of the review.”