$3b in the red: Queensland’s biggest debt hotspots
Queenslanders' personal debt has skyrocketed towards $3 billion over 2020 as people turned towards payday loans, buy now pay later services like Afterpay and short-term loans to get through the worst recession since the Great Depression.
The sobering figures show Queenslanders added an extra $227 million on to the red in their budget ledgers, and are revealed as JobKeeper wage subsidies are set to end this month.
Queenslanders had an average of $4038 unpaid on their credit cards at the end of each month by December 2020, well above the national average of $3197, and $500 more than at the start of the year.
Unsecured loans also soared by $800 per person to $8271.
But there was an explosion in debt buy now pay later services, with the state average more than doubling from $1352 to $2754.
Brisbane residents were among the highest for Payday loans racking up an average of $2222 up from $1894.
Labor's national reconstruction spokesman Richard Marles said the figures, from Digital Finance Analytics, were startling and showed more Queenslanders were having to go further into debt to get by.
"This situation is even more serious given JobKeeper comes to an end this month. It makes it urgent we hear from the government what its economic COVID recovery plan looks like," he said.
"Simply going back to the way things were before COVID hit is not good enough. These figures clearly show that."
Oxley MP Milton Dick, who has long campaigned against predatory payday loans, said Queenslanders would pay a huge price and risk getting caught in a debt trap due to inaction on cracking down on the sector.
"This evidence shows we're sitting on a ticket debt time bomb. It will cause pain for many people for years to come," he said.
"This has hardened my resolve to crack down on these operators."
The data showed net Payday loan debt doubled over 2020 to $75 million, with Mackay and the Darling Downs showing growth of up to 600 per cent.
The number of households in Queensland using buy now pay later services doubled from 51,000 to 112,000 over the year.
Fitzroy had the highest average BNPL debt per household of $4302, followed by Darling Downs at $3597 and Far North Queensland at $3189.
Credit card debt was worst in higher up in the state, with the north west region having an average unpaid balance of $6250 per person and Far North Queensland of $5900.
Originally published as $3b in the red: Queensland's biggest debt hotspots