There are signs that Australia may soon be entering some sort of ‘recovery’ period as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools are slowly returning to normal, elective surgeries have begun and even some beaches are open to swimmers and surfers – but not sunbakers. Nonetheless, we all need to continue our vigilance and patience. As the government, health experts and economists remind us, there is still some time to go before businesses can resume normal operations and enable the economy to show signs of health.
It is paramount in these times that tolerance and understanding – particularly with debt recovery – is shown to the families and businesses who have had to forgo livelihoods so that we all can be safe.
The AICR has reported on some of the welcome payment and debt relief options that businesses and government agencies have offered those who have lost income as a result of the COVID-19. These include delaying price increases, allowing debt holidays and longer times for payment of accounts.
"Now is the time to be even more sensitive to the financial stress that many people are facing, and are likely to face for some time."
Some state governments have also introduced regulations to allow local governments to reduce and waive fees, delay sending rate notices and extend payment due dates.
Whilst these measures are timely, families and businesses continue to struggle. Governments and consumer groups are rightly asking us all to show patience and understanding.
The AICR is always mindful of the stress and anxiety increasing levels of debt can cause. We do not think it is appropriate at this time to be actively pursuing debt recovery.
Now is the time to be even more sensitive to the financial stress that many people are facing, and are likely to face for some time.
Together, we will all get through this terrible challenge.