QCOSS welcomes today’s announcement of an additional $6.2 million to extend emergency support services to vulnerable Queenslanders from the Labor party.
The announcement includes $4 million for 20 community sector workers to provide financial resilience counselling to vulnerable Queenslanders, including helping them apply for no interest loans.
Funding support for the No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) is among the top priorities being called for by Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) in the lead up to the Queensland election.
“As we experience the worst economic downturn since the great depression, Queenslanders will need more financial support and assistance,” says Aimee McVeigh, QCOSS CEO.
“Frontline organisations from across Queensland have been contacting us since the beginning of the COVID crisis with stories of their clients being aggressively contacted by payday lenders and consumer lessors.
“Last year, 300,000 payday loans were taken out in Queensland, and our concern is that this could rise substantially this year due to the economic downturn.”
Some payday loans and consumer leases can attract fees that are equivalent to an interest rate of more than 800 per cent. It is estimated that up to 15 per cent of people who take out payday loans find themselves in unmanageable debt.
More than 60 community organisations across Queensland offer their clients no interest loans. This crucial service provides people with access to a safe and ethical credit product and safeguards them against financial pressure from predatory payday lenders and consumer lessors.
“Currently community organisations providing NILS do not receive funding for this service from the state government, and a significant number of organisations rely on the generosity of their volunteers to deliver access to the crucial program,” Ms McVeigh says.
“This has limited the capacity of organisations to provide access to no interest loans.
“Today’s announcement from the Labor party will create jobs in the community sector – a sector which is made up of 80 per cent women – and help Queenslanders doing it tough.
“We look forward to hearing more from all parties on their commitments to Queenslanders experiencing vulnerability and the community sector in the coming weeks.”