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Personal debt soars even before Christmas.

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Media Release by…

ALAN GRIFFIN MP Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer Affairs & Banking Services

2 December 2002


Reserve Bank figures released today showed that in October personal lending (excluding housing) was a record $86.8 billion - an increase of more than $760 million on September.

This 0.9% increase in October takes the growth in personal lending to 11% over the past year.

A big factor in the rise is record levels of credit card debt. Recent RBA figures revealed that credit card debt soared to a record high of $21.7 billion in September this year. Average credit card debt levels were at an all time high of $2256, while the average credit limit was a record $6531.

Rising credit card debt is part of an overall trend of rapidly increasing household debt levels. Household debt has increased by 215% from March 1996 to $597 billion in June 2002.

While credit card debt is only a small percentage of overall household indebtedness, with Christmas approaching Australian consumers are more likely to increase their exposure to credit card debt.

With interest rates up to 18%, credit card debt puts consumers under increased financial pressure.

The Government must reform the UCCC in cooperation with the States to ensure credit card debt does not continue to spiral out of control.

For further information please contact:

Alan Griffin: 0419 353 476 Office: (03) 9547 1444