Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Celebrating 50,000 affordable loans to vulnerable Australians

Affordable loan schemes supported by Gillard Government and National Australia Bank funding have passed the milestone of helping 50,000 Australians under financial stress get back on their feet, the Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins, announced today.

At an event in Melbourne to mark the 50,000 loans milestone, Minister Collins congratulated the Government’s partners in these initiatives – NAB and Good Shepherd Microfinance – for their hard work in this significant achievement.

“The total value of no-interest or low-interest loans in the five years of these initiatives is now more than $68 million,” Ms Collins said.

“These affordable loans have given more than 50,000 Australian families in financial stress the practical means to get back on track.

“The Australian Government is proud to be a partner with the NAB and Good Shepherd in delivering these important programs.

“We provided funding of $17.9 million from 2009 and we are investing a further $58.3 million over four years.

“The NAB’s financial commitment to these initiatives has been similarly generous.

“Many Australians in financial hardship can’t buy essentials such as fridges or washing machines because they don’t have a credit rating or don’t have the savings.

“These schemes mean low-income families don’t have to commit to high-cost alternative credit to buy essential household items.

“They’re making a real difference in Australians’ lives – Australians such as Sally, a middle-aged Aboriginal woman from Alice Springs.

“She lost all her furniture and possessions in a robbery and applied for a No Interest Loan Scheme loan to buy a fridge and a washing machine.

“Not long after being approved for a NILS loan, Sally won a traineeship at Woolworths and takes pride in being able to keep her work uniform clean and prepare her lunch for work with her new appliances.

“In applying for a NILS loan, Sally broadened her financial awareness and she’s since opened a savings account.

“The Australian Government is committed to supporting these affordable loan initiatives and looks forward to building on this record of 50,000 good news stories,” Ms Collins said.

NILS loans range from $800 to $1,200 and have a repayment period between one and one and a half years at zero per cent interest.

They are open to anyone who holds a Pension or Health Care Concession card.

The most common reason for people seeking the loans is to buy fridges, washing machines and other household appliances.

Information on how to apply for affordable loans is available at