GEORGE PROMOTES NO INTEREST LOANS AND FINANCIAL COUNSELLING

GEORGE PROMOTES NO INTEREST LOANS AND FINANCIAL COUNSELLING

2 June 2011

Nationals Member for Lismore Thomas George is encouraging people experiencing financial problems to seek help from NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

Mr George said financial counselling services and a successful no interest loans scheme were supported with state government funding, but often people did not know where to turn for help.

This funding supports 65 dedicated services, including the Consumer Credit Legal Centre Hotline 1800 808 488 as well as a state-wide training program and administrative support for counsellors.

Mr George said more than 40,000 people sought advice from financial counselling services across NSW in 2010.

"I am pleased Lismore Financial Counselling Service and Murwillumbah Financial Counselling Service have received $149,584 and $64,711 respectively," Mr George said.

"I am well aware of the imperative facilities provided to the community through these services, particularly in the past couple of years during the worldwide financial crisis and many natural disasters.

"I can attest to the value of the free, face-to-face financial counselling provided to an ever-increasing number of people who are suffering severe economic hardship,” he said.

“The service provided through financial counsellors is free and I urge anyone who is struggling with debt to call a financial counsellor today.

“Early intervention is the key and with good advice and support, people can alleviate their financial stress and with it, much of the emotional and physical stress that ensues.”

Mr George said the Government is also investing $1.78 million annually to help struggling NSW families access no interest loans.

“Funding for NILS® supports 58 NILS® services across the state and includes a dedicated NSW NILS® telephone Hotline on 1800 509 994,” he said.

“Since Fair Trading began funding NILS® in late 2008, more than 6,000 loans worth more than $5million have been provided.

“The scheme gives low income families and individuals loans of up to $1,200 to help purchase essential household or medical goods and services, including washing machines, refrigerators, computers for children and other essential items that support family stability and success.

“It is a vital safety net for many people who would normally turn to credit cards with high interest rates and fees, setting them on an endless spiral of unmanageable debt.

“The program is delivering proven results and is helping many to survive tough economic times, including mature-aged workers, long-term unemployed parents, people with disabilities, refugees, migrants, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and young people trying to get on their feet.”

“The NSW Government is committed to assisting the financially disadvantaged and believes every person is entitled to the basic necessities of life to maintain their health, wellbeing and dignity,” Mr George said.

For more information go to www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au. For NILS® go to www.nilsnsw.org.au

Lismore Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403
Email: lismore@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Murwillumbah Contact Details:

Telephone: 02 6672 7577