News National Labor announces $120 million fighting fund for banking victims

Labor announces $120 million fighting fund for banking victims

labor legal fund for banking misconduct
The new package will fund an extra 200 lawyers to help Australians claim up to $2 million in compensation. Photo: AAP
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Legal eagles trained to fight the big banks to secure consumers’ rights will gain access to a $120 million fighting fund if Bill Shorten is elected.

The Opposition Leader will announce on Wednesday that his $640 million tax hit on banks will include a fighting fund for financial rights.

The Access to Justice package will help victims of banking misconduct to secure greater access to legal advice.

“These 200 extra lawyers will assist victims of bank and financial service provider misconduct by providing legal advice and running complex cases in court and through the Australian Financial Complaints Authority,” Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said.

“Under new, improved AFCA compensation caps announced by Labor last week, these 200 extra lawyers will be able to help Australians claim up to $2 million in compensation for financial and non-financial loss.

“That’s an increase from a previous $500,000 compensation cap for consumer financial loss and $5000 for non-financial loss.”

Labor frontbencher Clare O’Neil said about 240,000 Australians are in need of financial rights legal advice every year, “but the sector is currently only able to service about 30,000 people”.

“These 200 additional financial rights lawyers will allow 150,000 more Australians to fight for their legal rights against banks and other credit providers every year,” she said.

“This is a once-in-a-generation chance to shift the balance back towards consumers. Labor will make sure you’re not on your own in a fight with the banks.”

On Monday, Mr Shorten announced a new bank tax set to gouge $640 million from big business to support victims of banking misconduct.

Companies to be hit by the new tax include financial institutions among Australia’s top-100 listed companies.

Smaller banks previously untouched by the banking levy will be hit by the new tax designed to raise $160 million a year for four years.

It will hit organisations, including AMP, that were savaged in the final report of the royal commission.

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