Indigenous Financial Inclusion – Central Queensland NILS Program
A $1.8 million pilot program to expand the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) into remote Indigenous communities was launched in the beginning of April 2013.
Good Shepherd Microfinance has been funded by the Australian Government to focus on four priority areas – one of these areas being Rockhampton. Which will enable people on low incomes access safe, affordable and no interest loans. Good Shepherd Microfinance has partnered with community organisations to deliver this expansion of NILS over the next two years. Banana Shire Support Centre in Biloela has partnered with Central Queensland Financial Counselling Service to deliver NILS in the Rockhampton Area.
The pilot program was important to Good Shepherd Microfinance’s strategic aims of being community-led and reaching large numbers of people to ensure people on low incomes had options for access to safe, fair and affordable credit, alongside credit reform, rather than rely on short-term, high-cost payday loans.
In 2012, the total value of loans to people on low incomes under the NILS program was $18.1 million – a five million dollar increase on the previous year. One in four of these borrowers identify as Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders.
The NILS program was established over 30 years by the Good Shepherd Sisters to provide no interest loans of up to $1,2000 to families and individuals to buy essential household items such as fridges, washing machines and beds. The program is one of a suite of people-centred, affordable financial programs offered by Good Shepherd Microfinance for people on low incomes at different financial stages of their lives.
The NILS expansion is part of an $18 million program by the Australian Government to support microfinance initiatives.
Would you like to apply for NILS®?
Contact your local NILS® program – Stacey Chamberlain,
CQNILS at Central Queensland Financial Counselling Service.
27 East Street, Rockhampton
07 4922 5924
0408 075 386