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Australian Parliament Opens Inquiry into Financial Abuse

Australian Parliament Opens Inquiry into Financial Abuse

by Starling Insights

Starling Insights Editorial Board

Apr 24, 2024


Australia's Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services has launched an inquiry into whether financial institutions are doing enough to prevent and address financial abuse. 

Prompted by concerns over the shift to online services and the need to protect vulnerable customers, the inquiry aims to evaluate the effectiveness of current laws and identify areas for reform. "With the shift to online services, we need to investigate how family and domestic violence has shifted there too, and whether our regulatory systems are equipped to adequately deal with it," said Senator Deborah O'Neill, Chair of the Joint Committee.

The inquiry follows recommendations from the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) in 2017, which urged banks to take measures to prevent financial abuse. That commission led to several reforms, including updates to the Code of Banking Practice and additional protections for customers. Despite these efforts, concerns around consumer protections persist.

Various stakeholders, including consumer groups, community legal centers, and regulatory bodies, have expressed worries regarding gaps in policies, monitoring of guarantee processes, and support for survivors of abuse. The committee plans to accept submissions until June and aims to report its findings in October.

For more on the efforts to improve consumer outcomes in Australia's financial sector, don't miss Anna Bligh, CEO of the Australian Banking Association, in our 2024 Compendium▸ Learn More

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