Queensland Good Money stores offer alternatives to lenders
QUEENSLANDERS facing serious money woes will soon have access to safe, fair and affordable finance to get their lives back on track.
Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman said battling financial distress can take a heavy toll on health and relationships.
"Quite often people seek solutions that land them even deeper in debt," she said.
"That's why we are partnering with Good Shepherd Microfinance and the National Australia Bank - which provides the expertise and financial capital - to open the first Good Money stores in Queensland.
"These stores will provide real alternatives to unscrupulous payday lenders and rent-to-buy schemes to make sure people don't spiral into debt - especially women, who are the fastest growing demographic accessing payday loans.
"Reducing income equality to help vulnerable people is a way of growing the Queensland economy. Inequality is an impediment to growth.
"Good Money stores will help reduce the financial stress being felt by vulnerable Queenslanders so they can participate fully in our society and the economy."
The first Good Money stores will open in Cairns and on the Gold Coast where community groups report a high need for the help they offer.
Good Shepherd Microfinance CEO, Adam Mooney said the corporate-community-government partnership is a great opportunity for Queenslanders.
"The Queensland Government is showing national leadership in investing in financial inclusion to build community and family resilience," Mr Mooney said.
"Opening two Good Money stores in Queensland will provide fair, safe and affordable options for loans and other programs for people on low incomes that would otherwise go exploitative and expensive pay day lenders.
"Good Money offers no and low interest loans that have an immediate positive impact on clients' lives by enabling them to pay for essential goods and services."
Good Shepherd Microfinance already operates stores in Victoria and South Australia.
NAB has committed $130 million in loan capital to microfinance programs nationally including Good Money.
NAB group executive Governance and Reputation Michaela Healey said that over the past 11 years, NAB has helped more than 420,000 Australians on low incomes access appropriate and affordable financial products and services, and supports the expansion of Good Money stores into Queensland.
"NAB is committed to financial inclusion - but we realise we can do so much more when we work together with others, Ms Healey said.
"Good Money is a great example of what can be achieved when a bank, government and community organisation make a long-term commitment and come to the table with an open mind and a willingness to work together."
The Palaszczuk Government's Financial Literacy and Resilience Initiative in the 2016/17 State Budget will help people battling financial strife with a state-wide network of 20 financial resilience workers - including counsellors.
These financial resilience workers will provide advice and a wide range of specialised support including no interest loans and subsidies for utilities payments.
"The coming State Budget will allocate $12 million dollars over the next two years for the special financial assistance package'" Ms Fentiman said.
"It will generate at least 15 new jobs and fund emergency relief across the state - providing financial literacy education, case management and linkages with supplementary support.
"This comes on the back of Queensland being the first state to commit to a Financial Inclusion Action Plan, as showcased in Sydney recently."
The Palaszczuk Government will tender for the Financial Literacy and Resilience Initiative from July.