Cairns residents who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are being encouraged to seek support from the town’s Good Money Store, rather than turn to payday lenders.
Minister for Communities Coralee O’Rourke today (25 August) visited the Good Money Store in Cairns to see first-hand how the store is supporting people impacted by the pandemic.
“We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is putting more stress on people’s finances, particularly here in Cairns,” Mrs O’Rourke said.
“We are concerned that many of these people may turn to payday lenders for support to help their finances in the short term and that these people may fall victim to the predatory behaviour and high interest rates of these lenders.
Member for Cairns Michael Healy said he encouraged people experiencing financial difficulties to visit the Good Money Store for free, independent financial support and advice.
“This Good Money Store provides a number of services, such as the No Interest Loans Scheme, to people experiencing financial difficulties, young people leaving care; women escaping domestic violence; people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; Indigenous people; homeless people; seniors and women,” Mr Healy said.
“I encourage Cairns residents who need some assistance or advice to come in and chat to the Good Money team and see what avenues may be open to them.”
The Palaszczuk Government provides $1.1 million funding to Good Shepherd Microfinance each year to operate Good Money Stores in Cairns and Southport.
These stores have issued close to 3400 loans as part of the No Interest Loans Scheme since 2017, including more than 2000 in Cairns.
The No Interest Loan Scheme is operated by Good Shepherd Microfinance with funding from the National Australia Bank.
Mrs O’Rourke said the Palaszczuk Government recognised the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the finances of Queenslanders, which is why the government was providing an additional $2.5 million in support to community service providers.
“This includes an additional $1.1 million for Emergency Relief providers to provide material and financial support during the pandemic, on top of the $1.87 million provided annually for these services,” she said.
“We will continue to work with the Queensland Council of Social Services and other community service organisations to provide support for Queenslanders experiencing financial difficulties, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.”