Media Release: Liberals Can't Be Trusted To Support Financial Counsellors
8.45am | February 11, 2019
SENATOR JENNY MCALLISTER
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
LIBERALS CAN’T BE TRUSTED TO SUPPORT FINANCIAL COUNSELLORS
Minister Fletcher’s announcement of a review into financial counselling will be little comfort for consumers facing financial stress.
Labor agrees that the financial counselling sector deserves predictability and stability in its funding, this announcement is too little too late.
Over the last 5 year the Liberals have shown little or no interest in the challenges facing consumers or the financial counsellors who support them.
Indeed, over the course of 2017 and 2018, the government undertook a lengthy redesign of the grant program that funds financial counselling. Tellingly, during this review, they did not consider the need to “increase predictability and stability in funding for financial counselling”.
Minister Fletcher need not look far from home to see one of the causes of unpredictability and instability in funding for financial counselling. The Minister oversaw a badly bungled tender process that left financial counsellors across the country facing cuts to their funding right before Christmas.
The funding rollout was a disaster of the Governments own making, and left services in chaos at a time of increased need for services from Australians in financial hardship.
Unlike the government, Labor has been actively working with financial counselling services to identify how best to support consumers. We initiated a review of the needs of financial counsellors last year as part of the Senate Inquiry into Credit and Financial Services Targeted at Australians at Risk of Financial Hardship.
Financial counsellors fronted up to hearings across the country to tell their story of hardship caused by predatory financial institutions such as pay day lenders and debt management firms.
This is just the latest in a long line of government inaction on supporting consumers in financial hardship:
- It was more than two years ago that the Government received a report telling them there was an urgent need to reform Pay Day Lenders. Two years later there has been still no action.
- The Government voted against the Banking Royal Commission 26 times
- Now the Government are already planning to delay, ignore, scale back or reject at least a dozen of the Royal Commission recommendations.
The Liberals have shown they cannot be trusted when it comes to protecting and supporting consumers. They are out of touch and only stand up for the top end of town.
FRIDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: NATHAN ROBERTSON 0436 632 388