Low-income residents of Corangamite and surrounds now have access to no-interest loans, thanks to the Brumby Labor Government.
Visiting Camperdown Community House today, Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney MP launched the Corangamite branch of the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS), a program that has been running in Victoria for 25 years.
“The Brumby Government is taking action to stand up for vulnerable Victorians and to reduce disadvantage by funding initiatives like the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS),” Ms Tierney said.
“The scheme is run by Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service and will be managed locally by the Corangamite District Adult Education Group.
“The Corangamite District Adult Education Group has been working in the Corangamite region for more than 20 years to improve social equity, participation and the quality of life of the community by promoting and fostering life-long learning for adults.
“I’m so pleased that in partnership with Good Shepherd the group will now be able to provide a fair and safe credit option for people who may have trouble accessing credit because of low income or a poor credit rating.”
Ms Tierney said loans of up to $1,200 had made a huge difference to people’s lives by enabling them to buy essential household items or to cover health or education needs.
“Too often people are trapped by their circumstances and unable to participate in the economic and social life of their community,” Ms Tierney said.
“For many people and families on low incomes NILS has provided a first step towards mainstream banking access, self confidence and improved health and wellbeing.”
Community Development Minister Peter Batchelor said the Brumby Labor Government committed $4.7 million in 2006-2010 to support Good Shepherd to expand NILS from 41 to 77 sites across Victoria and recently announced ongoing funding of $600,000 per year from 2010.
“Each of these programs has helped local families cover what to many people may seem like basic needs but were previously out of their reach,” Mr Batchelor said.
“By providing loans and a manageable payment plan, Corangamite District Adult Education Group will give some people in the area a helping hand.”
Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service started the first NILS in Collingwood, Victoria in 1981 with funds provided by the Good Shepherd Sisters. The scheme went national in the early 1990s with more than 260 programs now delivered Australia-wide.
For more information or to discuss eligibility, contact manager Len Wiseman on 5593 2920.