By: Kim Wilkinson
Debt relief charity Christians Against Poverty Australia urges senators to block proposed termination of safe lending laws.
In a national open letter, organised by consumer advocacy group CHOICE, 125 organisations and 97 prominent Australians have rallied together against the government’s proposal to terminate safe lending laws.
These laws were originally designed to protect people from the unhelpful lending practices Australia experienced during the global financial crisis. The letter argues that if these laws are axed the consequences could lead to a ‘debt disaster’, and outlines the change would directly contradict the very first recommendation of the Banking Royal Commission.
Rosie Kendall, CEO of Christians Against Poverty Australia, says, “We are experiencing our first recession in nearly 30 years, and the church has a unique opportunity and responsibility to serve and love the poor now more than ever. I believe that signing this letter is an essential action we can all take to help protect people from exploitative lending by banks and other lenders. At CAP, we believe we have a ‘duty of care’ to protect the vulnerable from the destructive force of debt, focusing on Jesus’ mandate to truly care for the poor from policy to personal finance, we are hopeful that lives will be transformed and people will be free from debt.”
The Open Letter is also supported by new national polling that shows Australians expect lenders to check if credit is unaffordable. 79% of people think that banks should be required to always check a customer’s ability to repay before offering a mortgage (only 4% disagree).
Alan Kirkland, CEO of CHOICE, says, “Without safe lending protections many Australians will be exposed to the terrible lending practices we saw in the lead-up to the global financial crisis. We’re asking every Senator to help protect us from this happening again. We have seen what happens when banks are unregulated, with no penalties for bad behaviour. That’s why we had to have a royal commission. Nobody wants to go back to those days.”
 Polling was completed as part of the Dynata’s weekly “Omnipulse” omnibus. The fieldwork was conducted on 11-16 November, 2020. 1,014 people completed the survey and data was weighed to the latest ABS census data so results are nationally representative.
About Christians Against Poverty Australia
CAP Australia is a Christian charity that partners with local churches to provide vital debt counselling and budgeting services to Australian families. With 198 partner churches across the nation, CAP believes all Australians should live free from the burden of overwhelming debt. CAP proactively teaches good financial wellbeing to all Australians, regardless of their situation, providing all services free of charge. Find out more: capaust.org
Established 60 years ago, CHOICE exists to serve Australian consumers. Wholly independent, they review, advise and campaign on issues as diverse as banking, babies, finance, fridges (and even the food you put in them!) and so much more. Find out more: choice.com.au/about-us
Article supplied with thanks to Christian Media & Arts Australia.
About the author: Kim is a media and communications professional who specialises in building community and valuable relationships.