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Monday, 26 February 2018
Page: 1835

Banking and Financial Services


Mr HAMMOND (Perth) (14:50): My question is to the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services. Almost one year ago the minister said that legislation which would reform payday lending and rent-to-buy schemes would be introduced at the earliest opportunity. Is the minister aware that there are reports today of a Queensland rent-to-buy business which charges more than $8,000 for a laptop worth $1,900? Is this conservative government so inept that it has allowed this sort of behaviour to continue unchecked because it has delayed legislation to fix it?

Honourable members interjecting


Ms O'DWYER (HigginsMinister for Revenue and Financial Services, Minister for Women and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service) (14:51): I thank the member for his question. Despite all the laughing on the other side I actually think this is a very serious matter. The government has been very strong in support of consumers. The government was the government that put in place a review process that ensured that we looked at payday lenders, those people who provide credit contracts for small amounts, and also looked at consumer leasing and provided a recommendation to government. That recommendation was very clear. When I was the minister responsible for this particular area we accepted the vast majority of the recommendations and the government made announcements in respect of that. Since then we have released legislation and that legislation is legislation that those opposite say they embrace. So it is quite surprising that those opposite would be critical of our government, which has sought to put in place the protections that are required for those people who are some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

Let me remind those opposite that they have not been a friend of consumers, because they are the people who had wanted to stand in the way of the one-stop shop for consumer complaints. It is our side of politics that has put that in place and has legislated that to ensure that people who have a financial services complaint whether it's a superannuation complaint, a credit complaint or a complaint against one of the banks, can receive access to free, binding and very fast responses so that they can be put in a position where they can get on with their lives. Those opposite weren't particularly keen on this, but we on this side of the House were able to deliver. So while they might talk about all of the things that they want people to believe they are doing for consumers, it is we who are acting.