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Industry funding for credit education and research



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FEDERAL MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS AND MINISTER ASSISTING THE TREASURER FOR PRICES SENATOR NICK BOLKUS COMMONWEALTH

PARLIAME I i ARY UBRARY MICAH

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INDUSTRY FUNDING FOR CREDIT EDUCATION AND RESEARCH

The Minister for Consumer Affairs, Senator Bolkus, and representatives of the Australian finance industry today announced a major private sector initiative to assist financial counselling in Australia.

The initiative, which was first suggested at the national forum on credit last year, is the first step towards establishing an industry funded Credit Education and Research Foundation.

Senator Bolkus made the announcement with the Executive Director of the Australian Bankers Association, Mr Allan Cullen, the Executive Director of the Australian Federation of Credit Unions, Mr Graham Loughlin, and the Executive Director of the Australian Finance Conference, Mr Peter Long. The Australian Association of Permanent Building Societies

and American Express are also supporting this initiative.

A task force, comprising representatives from the finance industry, consumer groups and the Federal Government, will prepare detailed guidelines for such a Foundation.

Senator Bolkus said the task force follows discussions with all sections of the finance industry, including

representatives from banks, building societies, credit unions, finance companies and American Express.

"There is clearly a need for all consumers to be well informed about the use of credit," said Senator Bolkus.

"Some existing community-based financial counselling services are already involved in community education on credit matters.

"But the inadequate resources of these organizations, and the heavy demands of casework, limit the time spent by financial counsellors on credit education and research."

Senator Bolkus said that the finance industry's interest in the funding of these important activities was most welcome.

"Funding from industry might also be used for improving training courses for financial counsellors and finance industry staff," said Senator Bolkus.

"The task force is the second stage of the consultation process, and we hope to establish the Credit Education and Research Foundation later this year.

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"The task

prepare detailed funding guidelines to

cover the key areas of training, credit education and research, and will determine funding targets for the maintenance of the foundation for a minimum of three years."

Senator Bolkus said that the task force would consult widely with consumer groups and financial counselling organisations.

"The finance industry has agreed to provide approximately $4.0,000 for a consultant to assist the task force in its work," said Senator Bolkus.

The Task Force will be asked to finalise its report by the end of June, 1989.

Thursday, February 23, 1989 Melbourne.