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Monday, 15 March 2021
Page: 20

Senator CHISHOLM (Queensland) (12:17): Just observing what Senator McDonald said then about this bill, the National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Small Amount Credit Contract and Consumer Lease Reforms) Bill 2019 (No. 2), being misguided, I think we've got to actually have a look at the basis of this bill, which was actually the exposure draft legislation that this government put out for consultation. So that is the actual substance of what we're putting forward here and which we have done so continuously since the government failed to act on this back in 2017. I want to commend the work Senator McAllister has been doing and also my good friend the member for Oxley, Milton Dick, who's also been highlighting government inaction on this.

The consequences of inaction are issues that are being felt by the community right across the country. It is unfortunate that these challenges have been accentuated by the pandemic and what Australians are dealing with at the moment. There are a lot of people out there who are feeling the pain of the economic challenge that Australians are confronting. The reality is that the inaction of this government is actually making that challenge worse for so many Australians.

We saw that with what the government have done in regard to superannuation and allowing early access for people. That has accentuated this problem. We are also going to see in it a couple of weeks time when the government end JobKeeper as well. I certainly know from my travels through regional Queensland last week that that is going to have a devastating impact on so many people across Queensland and no doubt across the country at the same time.

So it is disappointing that the government haven't used the opportunity that we've presented to them today with this bill to actually tackle one of those challenges head on, and that is in regard to the consumer credit protection amendment. As I said, this replicates the exposure draft legislation that was released for consultation by the government in 2017. The bill was a response to a review the government commissioned in 2015 to tackle the increasing exploitation of people who entered into small amount credit contracts and consumer leases. Stakeholders in the broader community responded to the draft legislation, but the government have so far failed to act.

Debate interrupted.