More support pledged to help locals avoid payday lenders
HELP is on the way for a whole new cohort of Central Queenslanders forced to seek assistance from local charities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Di Farmer joined Keppel MP Brittany Lauga in Rockhampton to make an election promise to provide an additional $6.2 million over the next two years, to make sure emergency support services were extended to vulnerable Queenslanders.
Ms Farmer said the funding would be vital in ensuring all Queenslanders could unite and recover.
The funding includes $2.2 million to go towards emergency support services, like the provision of cash, food vouchers and food parcels and $4 million for 20 NGO workers to provide financial resilience counselling to vulnerable Queenslanders, including helping them apply for no interest loans.
The funding promise aims to prevent those struggling financially from falling into the trap of applying for payday lender loans which charge exorbitant interest rates.
Given the number of new faces seeking assistance from local charities, Ms Lauga said the investment was much needed.
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 has put significant financial pressure on families in my area,” she said.
“We don’t want those families to feel as though they have to turn to predatory payday lenders.
“By providing assisting those who are financially vulnerable in obtaining no interest loans, the Queensland Government is ensuring that all Queenslanders can get through this difficult time, without being crippled with debt.”
Ms Farmer said the funding would be vital in ensuring that all Queenslanders could unite and recover.
“COVID-19 has hit all Queenslanders. But for some it has been especially difficult.
“This emergency relief funding forms part of our Economic Recovery Plan and will make sure that no Queenslander falls through the cracks.”
Minister for Communities, Disability Service and Seniors, Coralee O’Rourke said this additional funding would build on the existing supports the Queensland Government had in place.
“The Queensland Government has been able to fund 87 emergency relief providers across the state to provide immediate financial relief to those in need,” Ms O’Rourke said.
“Our Financial Literacy and Resilience services have made 27 financial counsellors and financial resilience workers available across the State to help Queenslanders facing financial vulnerability.
“And our Good Money Stores have provided a safe alternative to payday lenders.
“I can only hope that the Federal Government will take action to crack down on the predatory behaviour of some payday lenders.”
QCOSS welcomes additional support for vulnerable Queenslanders
Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) welcomed today’s announcement of an additional $6.2 million to extend emergency support services to vulnerable Queenslanders from the Labor party.
The announcement includes $4 million for 20 community sector workers to provide financial resilience counselling to vulnerable Queenslanders, including helping them apply for no interest loans.
Funding support for the No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) is among the top priorities being called for by QCOSS in the lead up to the Queensland election.
QCOSS Chief Executive Aimee McVeigh said as we experience the worst economic downturn since the great depression, Queenslanders will need more financial support and assistance.
“Frontline organisations from across Queensland have been contacting us since the beginning of the COVID crisis with stories of their clients being aggressively contacted by payday lenders and consumer lessors,” Ms McVeigh said.
“Last year, 300,000 payday loans were taken out in Queensland, and our concern is that this could rise substantially this year due to the economic downturn.”
Some payday loans and consumer leases can attract fees that are equivalent to an interest rate of more than 800 per cent. It is estimated that up to 15 per cent of people who take out payday loans find themselves in unmanageable debt.
More than 60 community organisations across Queensland offer their clients no interest loans. This crucial service provides people with access to a safe and ethical credit product and safeguards them against financial pressure from predatory payday lenders and consumer lessors.
“Currently community organisations providing NILS do not receive funding for this service from the state government, and a significant number of organisations rely on the generosity of their volunteers to deliver access to the crucial program,” Ms McVeigh said.
“This has limited the capacity of organisations to provide access to no interest loans.
“Today’s announcement from the Labor party will create jobs in the community sector – a sector which is made up of 80 per cent women – and help Queenslanders doing it tough.
“We look forward to hearing more from all parties on their commitments to Queenslanders experiencing vulnerability and the community sector in the coming weeks.”