Three hours of bank holiday on Monday for Australians who are not in work, who are travelling to a family member overseas or who have been in the country for less than a year, is expected to ease concerns about the country’s financial health.
The Reserve Bank said it would also offer “continuing support” to people with financial needs through the Commonwealth Bank’s new financial assistance scheme.
A total of 4.5 million Australians will be able to use the scheme by the end of June.
While the move was welcomed by the Australian Bankers Association, which said it was too early to make any final determinations on the impact, it was a “good start”.
“The fact that it was delayed by just a few hours was disappointing,” ABA chief executive Rod Sims said.
“We were expecting to see the Reserve Bank increase its support for the financial needs of the public, and we expect that this will happen again.”
The scheme will allow people with some financial difficulties to borrow up to $200 a week, or $2,000 per fortnight, from the bank.
Those with a debt of $1,000 or more will need to repay that debt within three months.
The bank said that as many as 60 per cent of Australians would be eligible for the scheme.
“The scheme is expected in a timely manner to provide the resources Australians need to achieve their financial goals and keep them out of poverty,” it said.
A spokeswoman for the Reserve Banks managing director, Ben Guthrie, said: “The Reserve Banks is committed to supporting the Australian community, and its financial support to assist those who have struggled with the financial challenges of a difficult economic environment, will be provided in a way that is fair, efficient and effective.”
We also want to make sure we continue to deliver the best possible outcomes for people who rely on the Reserve for financial assistance.
“People with the right support can be the start of a better, more stable and sustainable financial future.”
The scheme was initially announced by the Federal Government in April, when it announced it would allow Australians with debts of $2.4 million or more to borrow $500 a week.
It also announced a $1.6 billion loan to the Reserve to provide financial support for people with debt of up to a $4,000 debt.