House debates

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Statements by Members

Household and Personal Debt

1:36 pm

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Oxley, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

For more than four years now, the government have known that the payday lending industry is out of control and the loan sharks are ripping off more than 800,000 families every day. But, whilst the government continues to ignore this growing crisis, we find out that one of the biggest payday lenders, Cash Converters, has agreed to pay $42.5 million to settle a class action by Maurice Blackburn lawyers against the company, on behalf Queenslanders who took out consumer credit loans with the payday lenders. The class action alleged the company breached the state's credit laws by effectively charging borrowers interest rates of more than 175 per cent a year, with more than 60 per cent of the people involved in the case having annual incomes of somewhere between $12,000 and $35,999—people who had been doing it tough every single day, only to be ripped off by a company which makes millions. You'd think a $42 million settlement might send a strong message, but shares in Cash Converters spiked a massive 30 per cent on the news—a slap in the face for the 68,000 people in this lawsuit and for the hundreds and thousands who are continuing to be ripped off. To make it worse, the Assistant Treasurer was quoted in the media last week as saying they were still 'processing' the changes to be legislated relating to small amount credit contracts—four years, and they were still making up their minds. When will the government take action? You are ripping off Australians. It's time this government took action to defend vulnerable Australians.