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July 17, 2017

Labor is calling on the Gold Coast's Federal LNP MPs to fast-track crucial reforms to protect vulnerable Gold Coasters from dodgy pay day lenders.

Today we will meet with the operators of the Good Money shop in Southport, which was established with funding from the Palaszczuk Labor Government. Since opening in April 2017 it has provided safe and affordable financial services for people on low incomes, who are otherwise excluded from mainstream financial services. 

Unfortunately, there are many other local lenders who take a different approach, ripping off vulnerable Gold Coasters with predatory lending practices. 

Gold Coast households are under increasing financial stress and Southport has been identified as one of Queensland’s suburbs in most need of Financial Literacy services. 

A 2016 study by the Australian Financial Security Authority showed the Gold Coast suburb of Ormeau had the second highest number of bankruptcies in Queensland, with 65 bankruptcies declared over a span of just three months last year.

It’s a worrying sign that’s being reflected across Australia, as earlier this year the number of personal insolvencies nationwide reached a five year high.

Once again the Turnbull Government has left the heaving lifting to their Queensland counterparts and under pressure community organisations, while it continues to sit on its hands instead of protecting Gold Coasters. 

Back in 2016, in response to the Federal Review of the Small Amount Credit Contract Laws, the Turnbull Government announced that it would act on the recommendations and make changes to lending criteria that lower the cap on payday lender repayments from 20 per cent to 10 per cent of a person’s income.

These changes, along with other important reforms, are needed to stop dodgy pay day lenders from preying on vulnerable people. But now we are now half way through the year and these reforms are taking a back seat to the Government’s infighting and tax cuts for multinational businesses.

Federal Labor supports these reforms and we back in calls from the Palaszczuk Government for the Turnbull Government to fast-track the legislation. 

Instead of fighting with their colleagues over their party's leadership and direction, the Gold Coast's five Federal LNP MPs should be fighting to have this legislation fast-tracked. 

The Federal Small Business Minister will be on the Gold Coast today. It would take just one of our five local MPs to tell him it's not good enough, and to stand up for vulnerable Gold Coast families. 

Unfortunately, they are either too lazy to be bothered or too arrogant to care. Or worse, are they both.