This isn’t news, but thousands of people getting caught in debt is

Consumer Action Law Centre (Consumer Action) has made a submission on reforms to make payday loans and rent-to-buy schemes safer, fairer and more affordable. This is the fourth time the Centre has made such a submission. It’s getting quite boring really.

The submission was to the Senate Committee tasked with reviewing proposed legislation jointly introduced by the Centre Alliance and Labor late last year. The National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Small Amount Credit Contract and Consumer Lease Reforms) Bill 2019 (No. 2) colloquially known as the ‘SACC Bill’ would implement the recommendations of the independent SACC Review commissioned by the Coalition Government that reported in 2016. Little has changed since the submission Consumer Action submitted to the 2016 Review, or the inquiries since then.

“We’re getting very tired of writing the same thing over and over again. We thought the Government would’ve resolved this by now.” says Consumer Action CEO Gerard Brody.

The Centre continues to see the same problems with payday loans and consumer leases that it has for the last decade. The submission provided recent evidence and examples of harm, which could’ve been prevented had these recommendations been implemented three years ago.

“Our submission details cases of the same harm consumer advocates warned about three years ago. The same harm that the Government’s own draft legislation was meant to address, but was never introduced in Parliament,” said Brody.

“It’s now been more than three years, we’ve had five different ministers, and three reviews. It’s mind-boggling that the Government is saying they still need to consider the reforms. What’s left to consider?”

“Our financial counsellors are still taking calls from people struggling to pay for groceries and their electricity bills because of these debts. Our lawyers are still running cases where loans should never have been provided in the first place.

“How many more people need to suffer harm at the hands of reckless lenders and rent-to-buy operators before this Government decides enough is enough?” said Brody.

This submission isn’t news. News would be a Federal Government actually implementing its commitments to vulnerable individuals and families who are too often exploited.

You can read Consumer Action’s latest submission here (but the findings are the same as they were in previous submissions).

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