The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has welcomed the Energy and Climate Change Ministerial Council’s (ECMC) decision to progress work on a proposed package of Game changer reforms that will deliver significant improvements in outcomes for energy consumers experiencing vulnerability.
Under the comprehensive package, consumers would receive concessions they are entitled to and those in hardship would receive their retailer’s best offer to help them lower their bills.
Read More ‘Game changer reforms’ for Vulnerable Consumers will Progress
Original media release from ECA (23/11/2023). Energy Consumers Australia (ECA) CEO Brendan French, quoted in response to the Capacity Investment Scheme: quote Energy Consumers Australia CEO Brendan French: “Energy Consumers Australia welcomes this morning’s announcement which is both an important step in providing reliable supply to consumers and also a continued firm commitment by Federal…
Read More Energy Consumers Australia Welcomes Announcement of Capacity Investment Scheme, Calls for More Work for Consumers
Financial Counselling Australia is delighted with today’s Government announcement about the establishment of an independent body to accept contributions from industry to fund financial counselling services.
Read More Financial Counselling Sector Applauds the Launch of New Funding Model
The implementation of an industry funding model, with funding administered by an independent body, was recommended by the Sylvan Review of financial counselling in March 2019. This was an appropriate, and innovative, response to the problem of long waiting lists to see a financial counsellor, including some people being turned away.
“If lotteries get this carve-out and people can use credit cards, it will be the thin edge of the wedge. They will then get carve-outs from future advertising and inducement reforms. We’ll regret this mistake when lotteries are advertised day and night and people increasingly spend large sums of money.”
Ms Levin said lotteries were no longer harmless fun as portrayed by providers. They were now also a far cry from the benign, government-owned public sweeps that we remember from childhood, and which had legislation that mandated donating money to charitable causes.
Read More ‘Not harmless fun’ – Advocates Call for Credit Card Ban to Extend to Scratchies and Lottery Tickets
“This legislation is terrific,” Ms Levin said. “We’re delighted that it covers not only credit cards, but also digital wallets and digital currencies.”
Read More FCA on the Credit and Crypto Gambling Ban
Ms Levin said the one area of disappointment was a carve-out for online lotteries.
“COTA Australia has been calling for action to support older people better plan for retirement. Financial literacy and retirement income products are key elements to make sure people are confident to spend more than the legislated minimum draw down and support them to have a dignified retirement.”
Read More COTA: Federal Government Needs to Increase Services for All Ages
Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) has welcomed the start of Australia’s first online gambling exclusion register, while at the same time calling on governments to expand the facility to casinos, pokies and lotteries.
“We started advocating for this in 2015 and didn’t give up, because we always knew that an online gambling self-exclusion register would help a lot of people,” Ms Levin said.
“Now we call on the state premiers to make BetStop a national register for all forms of gambling, including casinos, pokies, and lotteries. It’s not rocket science to simply give people the protection that they are asking for.”
Read More FCA Welcomes BetStop, Calls for Register to Extend Further
Financial Counselling Australia’s latest report, ‘Small Loans, Big Problems’, has highlighted once more the need for urgent reform to the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), especially with the continued cost of living crisis and with many still feeling the impact of the 2022 floods.
Read More Buy Now Pay Later – Debt Traps and Essentials
Consumer groups and the financial counselling sector have welcomed the launch of a new customer code for the energy sector.
The Knock to Stay Connected customer code requires network companies to visit people at risk of disconnection and encourages them to outline the support and referral services available if the customer is having payment difficulties, with the aim of keeping them connected.
Read More Knock to Stay Connected: National Customer Code Welcomed by Consumer Groups
Original article by Chris Siemers, posted on the Australian Financial Complaints Authority website on 05/06/2023. Hundreds of thousands of fixed-rate loans will roll onto much higher rates in coming months, catching up on a year of rate rises from which they have so far been quarantined. Some borrowers face the prospect of being tipped into…
Read More Mortgage Stress – Getting on the Front Roof
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has issued against used car lender Money3, claiming that it failed to adequately train staff on relevant credit laws and did not ensure proper financial checks on the affordability of the loan were made.
Read More Enforcement Action Taken Against Money3
One year after 120 consumer groups signed an open letter to have BNPL regulated as conventional credit, the Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones MP has announced that BNPL will largely be brought in line with the Credit Act – though not all requirements will be applied.
Read More Regulation of Buy Now, Pay Later Announced – Consumer Groups Respond