Financial counsellors helping Queenslanders get back in the black

Published Wednesday, 01 March, 2017 at 05:37 PM

Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

The Palaszczuk Government is helping Queenslanders get back in the black with 27 financial resilience counsellors hitting the ground today as part of its $25 million Better Budgeting program.

Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman said financial resilience counsellors will help Queenslanders take control of their own financial destiny.

“There’s no shortage of people out there who are all too ready to dish out financial advice, but the real trick is knowing who to trust,” she said.

“Better Budgeting will help Queenslanders to stay clear of unscrupulous payday lenders and look forward to a more stable and fulfilling financial future.

“Our investment means 27 new financial counsellors hit the ground running today, filling the massive hole left by the former Newman Government when it cut the community services sector and left Queensland without dedicated financial counsellors.”

Ms Fentiman said the Better Budgeting program includes $6 million per year to fund 27 financial resilience workers across Queensland, including the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Gympie, the Darling Downs, Gladstone, Mount Isa, Cairns and the Torres Strait.

She said financial resilience counselling services will be run locally by UnitingCare, Wesley Mission, Anglicare, Centacare, Lifeline, the Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network and the Salvation Army.

Ms Fentiman said Queensland’s first Good Money stores will open in April at Cairns and on the Gold Coast, thanks to a partnership with the Palaszczuk Government, Good Shepherd Microfinance and National Australia Bank.

“The new Good Money stores will provide real alternatives to shonky payday lenders and rent-to-buy schemes to make sure Queenslanders don’t spiral into debt,” she said.

“Good Money Stores offer low and no-interest loans so that Queenslanders can access essential goods and services without being saddled with crushing debt and exorbitant interest repayments.

“But while we are waging a war on shonky lenders so ordinary Queenslanders have access to responsible lending and fair financial advice, the LNP in Canberra are dragging their heels.

“Dodgy payday lenders have been able to operate without proper safeguards for too long.

“The Turnbull Government must take urgent action by capping loans at 10 per cent of a person’s after-tax income, instead of the current 20 per cent.

“We can’t wait until 2018 to take action against payday lenders, Queenslanders deserve better.”

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