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By Tony Brownlee
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By Tony Brownlee
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Comment: Tony Brownlee

Comment by Tony Brownlee

An open letter to the Government of Australia

"Ridiculous Proposed Amendments to the Credit Reporting Act and the Privacy Act Will Torture Small Business" says Tony Brownlee

March 2014 I had a very valuable interview with the Attorney General discussing the highly damaging changes to the Privacy Act 1988 (Comm.) - Credit Reporting, said Tony Brownlee.

One requires nothing more than this rubbish to uphold the view the Gillard Government despised small business and our lives.

The fresh amendment to the Privacy Act 1988 (Comm) while ridiculous, is but only one issue of credit reporting, there are many. The most insidious relates to Section 18F Privacy Act 1988 (Comm.) which states the maximum permissible period a payment default may be retained upon a file is 5 years, says Tony Brownlee

The Act is silent as to what is to occur once the alleged payment default is paid or satisfied? Veda Advantage and others retain information of the alleged payment default for the maximum permissible period of 5 years once the alleged debt is paid or satisfied! Just last week after 27 years of pressing Veda I gained an admission that it is Veda who elects to retain payment default information upon a file for the maximum permissible period of 5 years once paid or satisfied. The issue I have with this practice is that in sustaining the payment default entry once the alleged debt has been paid or satisfied imposes a "Penalty" upon the file holder! Since when has
Veda been possessed of the power to impose a penalty upon anyone? Says Tony Brownlee

There is just no financial benefit to a Veda file holder in paying the alleged debt, as a file holder cannot borrow with "paid" noted against the payment default entry. There can be little doubt the Framers of the Act in 1988 intended a payment default entry be removed completely once the debt is paid as the Act is silent. Firms such as Veda Advantage were originally established by Banks and others in support of lending decisions and to assist in collecting bad debts, but the Banks are the losers. My youngest daughter travelled with her husband a 2 times FIM World Motor Cycle Endurance Champion to the UK in 2002. While away she neglected to pay her Westpac Credit card. Westpac correctly listed her as a payment default on her Veda file for about $5K. I called my then personal banker at Westpac and instructed him to pay the debt from my account in full without argument as to costs or debt level. The only condition I imposed was that the bank manger communicate with Veda and instruct it to remove the entry upon my daughters file - in full. The Manager refused, I did not pay the alleged debt, my daughter remained in the UK and Europe for 6 years before returning to Australia wherein her Veda file was "clean". The bank was not paid, my daughter was again free to borrow. How does that assist the Bank or encourage file holders to pay payment default entries? says Tony Brownlee

I have been abused recently for pressing the Media to take up the issues with the latest's attempt by Gillard to destroy small business and incite the emotions of individuals, but want I am on about is not negative, unlike the Legislation, I am in full support of getting lenders paid! The current system is costing Lenders massive losses, says Tony Brownlee

In addition, an ATO executive this past week when addressing a Senate Committee complained the ATO was not permitted to list persons and corporations upon their respective Veda Credit Reporting file in an outstanding tax debt! Somehow the ATO seem to hold the belief that listing someone on Veda will assist or lead to the listed party paying a debt? As a sole trader once you are "blistered" by just one payment default you are out of business for 5 years! A Company suffers the same fate when its Director's personal file is "blistered". We have many clients who have been forced to sell up or close their businesses once a payment default entry has been listed upon their file, there is just no way of continuing in business as the file holder will be denied finance absolutely, even when the payment default is paid! says Tony Brownlee.

The only effective element of the fresh amendment is the introduction of a minimum isting value of $150. Previously a sole trader or company would be destroyed by the listing of a payment default in any amount, but creating a minimal listing amount of $150 does nothing as correct the wrong! says Tony Brownlee

We say to individuals without hard assets who have suffered financial stress and incurred one or more payment default listings upon their Veda or other credit reporting files that there is just no point in attempting to do the right thing and pay their debts. File a debtors petition and live in the wilderness of 3 years. We see so many folks who struggle for years to pay off their debts only to be bankrupted in most instances by a creditor out to get them. The banks and other lenders including collection agencies consider the crushing of debtors, sport. This is most evident in recent times when reviewing the terrible suicides of many farmers when confronted by lenders hell bent of "getting them".

Let us hope the recent establishment of the Small Business Party of Australia will hold the authority and media strength to provide small business with a strong voice.