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"We are losing hope": WA victims on watered down compensation scheme

CHOICE has written to WA politicians calling on them to protect forgotten victims of Government’s financial compensation scheme.

CHOICE has written to Western Australian federal parliamentarians asking them to assist victims of the Sterling First collapse.

"The Federal Government's proposed compensation scheme will abandon too many victims of financial misconduct. Victims of financial crime deserve better," says CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland. 

"The Government's response to the Banking Royal Commission provided hope to victims of financial misconduct that they would receive compensation. Now, for many, that hope has been dashed."

CHOICE's letter to WA parliamentarians and video case studies can be found here:

In July 2021, the Federal Government released draft laws on the Compensation Scheme of Last Resort (CSLR). CHOICE joined nine other community sector organisations including the Consumer Credit Legal Service (WA) calling for the scheme to be significantly bolstered.

"The scheme proposed by the Government will leave too many victims who have lost money uncompensated. It will only apply to five financial products and services, leaving out managed investment schemes such as Sterling First. This is incredibly disappointing for victims of managed investment scheme collapses," says Mr Kirkland.

The WA-based Sterling First collapse affected over 100 pensioners and retirees, many of whom lost their entire life savings. The federal government proposes to exclude them from the proposed scheme.

"Sterling First victims will be unable to receive compensation. We're calling on Western Australian parliamentarians to stand up for victims of financial misconduct who have been excluded from the scheme, like the victims of the Sterling First collapse. Managed investment scheme collapses should be included in the scheme," says Mr Kirkland.

Speaking to CHOICE, the spokesperson of the Sterling First Action Group Alan Fardoe, says: 

"We are losing hope. It feels like the Government has abandoned us in our time of need. All we ask is compensation from the money that was stolen from us. We just want life to go back to normal."

The Federal Government is currently considering the final design of the scheme. CHOICE is asking WA politicians to call on Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to expand the scope of the scheme.

CHOICE petition calling on Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to pass a compensation scheme with no loopholes: 

"Western Australian politicians should help people like the Sterling First victims by pushing for a stronger compensation scheme. The Government has already delayed the introduction of this legislation twice. For the laws to now be watered down is disheartening to victims across Western Australian and the nation," says Alan Kirkland.

Victims of Sterling First collapse are available for interview on request.

CHOICE's letter to WA parliamentarians and video case studies can be found here:

Media contact: 0430 172 669,

Editor's notes: