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Submissions for this consultation closed on Sunday, 10 June 2018

On 2 August 2019, the Attorney-General announced legislative amendments to allow reporting of consumer financial hardship information. This is an outcome of last year's review into hardship arrangements.

The amendments will indicate to credit providers those customers who have entered into financial hardship arrangements. They will also enable people experiencing financial difficulty to demonstrate good credit reporting behaviour by complying with the hardship arrangement.

Under the proposed changes, hardship indicators will identify where a hardship arrangement is in place and whether a consumer is making payments in accordance with that arrangement. A separate indicator will show where there has been an agreed permanent variation to a credit contract. Hardship information will be subject to broadly the same protections as repayment history information concerning collection, use and disclosure under the Privacy Act, but will be subject to a shorter retention period.

The following guidance outlines the key features of the proposed amendments:

The changes will support the Government's mandatory comprehensive credit reporting regime, which will increase lending competition and deliver better deals for Australian consumers. An exposure draft of the proposed legislation is now open for public consultation and is available on the Treasury's website.

About the hardship arrangements review

The Attorney-General first announced that the Attorney-General's Department would lead a review into hardship arrangements and how they interact with the consumer credit reporting framework on 28 March 2018.

The department released a discussion paper and sought public submissions by 10 June 2018. The discussion paper outlines the review process and key issues relevant to the review:

The review considered the submissions received and consultations undertaken with stakeholders, and informed the legislative amendments announced by the Attorney-General.

Submissions received

The following submissions were received in response to the discussion paper and were considered as part of the review.

If you experience issues accessing any of these submissions, please contact privacy.consultation@ag.gov.au for assistance in providing an alternate version.