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Credit card debt another record: Costello does nothing.



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Media Release by…

ALAN GRIFFIN MP Shadow Minister for Consumer Protection & Consumer Health

4th June 2003

CREDIT CARD DEBT ANOTHER RECORD - COSTELLO DOES NOTHING

Reserve Bank of Australia figures released today show Australian credit card debt has increased to over $23.32 billion for April 2003 - an increase of $370million from the previous month, and another record.

While Howard and Costello want to ignore the current household debt crisis, today’s credit card statistics tell a different story:

• Average credit card debt hit a record high of $2455; and

• Average credit card limits hit record high of $6988.

These figures indicate more and more Australians are entering into credit card agreements that encourage the accrual of high interest bearing debt.

Ever increasing debt levels are Costello’s legacy to Australian families and credit card debt figures typify his refusal to do something constructive to protect Australian consumers.

Recent analysis from JP Morgan estimated a number of impacts of the RBA credit card reforms - including an increase in fees by major banks such as the ANZ and Commonwealth Bank who could recoup more than $100 million from merchants and cardholders in the next financial year.

Labor introduced a Private Member’s Bill in September last year to authorise ACCC surveillance of the implementation of the RBA reforms. The Treasurer refused to support this Bill to better protect Australian consumers.

The most recent Cannex Interest Rate Bulletin shows that in February 2003 alone, Australian credit card holders paid over $181 million in interest - up almost $10 million from the previous month.

CREDIT CARD INTEREST

140 150

160 170

180 190

Dec-02 Jan-03 Feb-03

INTERES

T PAID (

$ )

It is time Treasurer Costello stopped worrying about his leadership and focused on protecting Australian families from increasing credit card indebtedness.

For further information please contact: Alan Griffin: 0419 353 476