Research, reports and submissions


Our Program Design and Advisory team conducts rigorous, evidence-based research to assess the impact of our products and services, and to guide the economic and social inclusion programs in Australia.

Our research has been recognised by numerous awards, including an Outstanding Achievement Award at the 2015 Financial Literacy Australia Awards.

For all Research enquiries please contact

Publications Contact

Dr Vinita Godinho
General Manager Advisory

T: 03 9495 9602


This paper is an update to the research first completed two years ago using data to the end of 2017. We sought to re-address four specific questions:

1) Are women increasingly using payday lending in Australia?
2) What are the household characteristics of women who use payday lending in Australia? This includes additional analysis by age distribution.
3) How are women using payday lending in Australia (e.g. repeat lending, online lending, loan purpose)?
4) What are the motivations and drivers of women using payday lending in Australia?

We welcome the opportunity to participate in the consultation process for the development of a new financial literacy strategy in Australia for 2018 and beyond. As with previous strategies, the new strategy will be an essential framework to guide organisations, governments, and industry to work together to build financial capability, and financial wellbeing, across Australia.

Good Shepherd Microfinance provides feedback on the draft legislation to implement Small Amount Credit Contract (SACC) reforms. Our response focuses on two issues we believe are fundamental to these reforms: extending protections to all consumers and immediately implementing cost caps and affordability protections. We also provide additional comments that support the submission made by our colleagues at the Consumer Action Law Centre. These reforms are vital to safeguard people on low and middle incomes who choose to access credit through these channels, from becoming more financially stressed.

The Australian Government recently released the Social Impact Investing Discussion Paper in January this year identifying the potential opportunities arising from the unmet needs of more than three million adults experiencing financial exclusion in Australia. Good Shepherd Microfinance was privileged with the opportunity to be involved in this important debate and respond to the discussion paper.

In collaboration with the Queensland Government, Good Shepherd Microfinance has produced the Money Ready Toolkit to help people prepare, respond and recover from the financial impact of natural disasters.

The Toolkit provides information and tools on preparing, responding and recovering from natural and human-made disasters.

Money Ready Toolkit

Australia’s credit reporting framework has recently undergone a fundamental shift away from a negative only reporting system to comprehensive credit reporting. This report reveals some valuable insights and attitudes from younger Australians towards their credit history, and on managing expenses in general.

Take Charge: credit reporting and millennials

The launch report of the Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) program, ‘Collective actions, leading change’, outlines the reasoning, design and expected impact of the program. It also includes the commitments made by the first 12 organisations to participate in the program.

Collective actions, leading change

Good Shepherd Microfinance, Consumer Action Law Centre and Financial Rights Legal Centre have made a joint submission in response to the Australian Bankers’ Association’s Terms of Reference paper Independent review of product sales commissions and product based payments.

Good Shepherd Microfinance has responded to Financial Counselling Australia’s Everyone Needs a Savings Buffer consultation paper. Global research clearly demonstrates that having a savings buffer is an important prerequisite for the ability to cope with financial shocks/developing financial resilience.

Good Shepherd Microfinance has made a submission to the Australian Government’s Affordable Housing Working Group. Our submission recognises the range of viable housing initiatives available for consideration and highlights the essential role of Good Shepherd Microfinance in providing trusted, client-focused, community-led support for people on low incomes.

Good Shepherd Microfinance commissioned Digital Finance Analytics to examine how women access and use payday loans. The report found women are using payday lending more. In 2005 about 84,000 women had used payday lending, but this had grown to 177,000 in 2015, a 110% rise compared to growth in the total industry in Australia of 80% over the same period

Good Shepherd Microfinance has published a position statement on consumer leases. The statement calls consumer leases ‘credit-in-disguise’ and suggests they be subject to the same regulations as payday lending. It also calls for the introduction of mandatory positive credit reporting for consumer lease companies, the introduction of ‘protected earnings provisions’ to all people on low incomes and a cap on the cost and length of leases.

Good Shepherd Microfinance has published a position paper on payday lending. It calls for the introduction of mandatory positive credit reporting for payday lenders and the expansion of ‘protected earnings provisions’ to all people .

Good Shepherd Microfinance, Consumer Action Law Centre and Financial Rights Legal Centre commissioned Digital Finance Analytics to produce a report on the use of payday loans in Australia. The report, 'The Stressed Financial Landscape', found that nearly 30 per cent of borrowers surveyed had concurrent payday loans—up from 12.6 per cent in 2010.

Good Shepherd Microfinance has made a submission to the Small Amount Credit Contract review. It says consumer leases are ‘credit-in-disguise’ and should be subject to the same regulations as payday lending.

Good Shepherd Microfinance has made a submission to the Essential Services Commission’s Inquiry into the current policies, practices and procedures of energy retailers. It suggest that a concerted effort should be made to better understand the precursors to financial stress and the best way to implement early identification procedures.

Good Shepherd Microfinance's 'Life Changing Chats: The Impact of the financial conversation on StepUP applicants’ financial literacy and capability' explores the impact of the financial conversation held between a microfinance worker and an applicant for a StepUP loan. It found that the financial conversation had a positive impact on clients’ financial behaviour, skills and knowledge.

Good Shepherd Microfinance Director, Dr Vinita Godinho, has published her thesis Money, Financial Capability and Well-being in Indigenous Australia. It explores the historical, cultural and familial context of money as it flows through Indigenous households in remote, regional and urban Australia (‘Indigenous money’), and considers how this influences Indigenous views on financial capability and well-being.

Good Shepherd Microfinance's response to the Financial System Inquiry, focuses on the Interim Report’s observation and request for additional information regarding a role for Government and/or industry to facilitate further development of microfinance initiatives, in collaboration with the not-for-profit and community sector. We urge the Financial System Inquiry to include in its Final Report a recommendation that there is a role for government in addressing the post-global financial crisis failure of the market to achieve financial inclusion.

The Microfinance, ‘Inclusion’ and Economic Growth Report was commissioned by Good Shepherd Microfinance and conducted pro-bono by Strategic Project Partners The report estimates the compelling opportunity presented by initiatives including financial inclusion.

Good Shepherd Microfinance and Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service have made a submission to the Financial System Inquiry which will establish a direction for the future of Australia's financial system.

Putting good practice at the heart of NILS identifies the most effective and important practices of our No Interest Loan Scheme providers. It was borne out of the need to ensure precious loan capital was repaid and recycled to as many people as possible and that it appropriately met clients’ needs.

Good Shepherd Microfinance has made a submission on the Financial System Inquiry's draft terms of reference. We argue for the inclusion of several important issues, predominantly financial exclusion, in the Terms of Reference of the Australian Financial System Inquiry.

'StepUP Loan program: a little help goes a long way' is a report from Good Shepherd Microfinance, National Australia Bank and the Centre for Social Impact which show that clients who take a StepUP loan are one step closer to financial inclusion and are less likely to borrow from a fringe-lenders.