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Consumer advocates unite as Government inaction on payday loan reform hits 1,000 days

As the counter ticks over to 1,000 days since the Coalition Government accepted the recommendations from the Small Amount Credit Contract (SACC) review, consumer advocacy organisations across the country have united to call for swift government action to protect Australians from predatory payday lenders and consumer lease providers.

The Government endorsed most of the findings of the SACC review on 29 November 2016 but more than three years on, we still haven't seen Government legislation introduced into Parliament.

Meanwhile, Australians continue to be trapped in crippling debt due to high-cost fast loans and harmful consumer leases.

Now, a group of passionate financial experts, community advocates, and service providers across the country have launched the Stop the Debt Trap Alliance – an action group determined to see stronger laws implemented to protect Australians from irresponsible lenders.

"Every day, the organisations in this Alliance hear from people trapped in crippling debt fuelled by payday lenders and consumer lease providers. These business models rely on extending more and more high-cost credit to individuals and families that struggle to afford repayments," says Consumer Action Law Centre (Consumer Action) CEO, Gerard Brody.

"The credit these lenders offer may seem small, but the harm it causes can be devastating."

"The Government's commitment to implement the recommendations made in the wake of Hayne's Royal Commission is a promising step forward. However, the Government roadmap still won't address the harmful practices of the multi-million-dollar payday lending industry, which fell outside the scope of the Royal Commission," he said.

The Stop the Debt Trap Alliance says that the Morrison Government has a golden opportunity to continue the work they started to restore confidence in our financial institutions and take decisive action to protect hard working Australians from all types of reckless lenders by:

  1. Enacting the recommendations from the Small Amount Credit Contracts review, including the proposal to cap repayments on these products to 10% of a consumer's net income per pay cycle;
  2. Abolishing the exemption from the 48% cost cap that applies to small and medium amount loans as well as consumer leases; and
  3. Committing to more funding for support services such as financial counselling and legal assistance.

You can read the Alliance's full statement and sign up to join the campaign here.

The Stop the Debt Trap Alliance is currently made of 17 organisations and counting, including:

  • Anglicare Tasmania
  • Consumer Action Law Centre (Consumer Action)
  • Consumer Credit Legal Service WA (CCLSWA)
  • CHOICE
  • Financial Counsellors Association of NSW (FCAN)
  • Financial Counsellors Association Tasmania (FCAT)
  • Financial Counsellors Association of WA (FCAWA)
  • Financial Counselling Australia (FCA)
  • Financial and Consumer Rights Council (FCRC)
  • Financial Rights Legal Centre (FRLC)
  • Good Shepherd Microfinance
  • Neighbourhood Houses Tasmania (NHT)
  • NILS Tasmania
  • Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS)
  • South Australian Financial Counsellors Association (SAFCA)
  • Tasmania Council of Social Services (TasCOSS)
  • Uniting