The Reserve Bank’s interest rate announcement was not just widely predicted, it was factored into the share market weeks ago. The media will no doubt rake the coals of families doing it tough with—what?—the ninth interest rate hike in a row. There’ll be pages of mortgage battlers in the next day or so.

But you can bet no journalist—especially those of the Canberra press gallery—will take time out to talk to anyone in the Northern Territory who works for a Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) wage.

The breathless reportage at the national level of Brough’s “boots on the ground solution” to Aboriginal child protection is matched only by the supine response of Federal Labor’s me-tooism to the so-called “national response”.

And you can bet no federal politicians will give a flying toss about the ramifications for one of the country’s only Indigenous financial institutions, the Traditional Credit Union (TCU), established in 1994.

Many, if not most, CDEP workers do better than the dole through “top ups”. Scores of Aboriginal enterprises and organisations generate enough income to supplement the Aboriginal “work for the dole” scheme. As Crikey has noted, incomes of $20-25,000 are not uncommon.

This means that many Aboriginal families earn enough to take on loans for anything from refrigerators to motor cars. Not unlike the kinds of loans aspirational voters across the nation fork out for. An interest rate hike, let alone the ninth in a row, has made this hard for relatively poor families to keep up their payments.

The core promise of Brough and Howard to abolish CDEP in the Northern Territory by June next year is raising already considerable angst among people employed through the scheme. Many face financial ruin.

So imagine what the bean counters at the TCU are going through at the moment. The TCU has branches in 10 communities in the Top End of the Territory, occupying places abandoned by the banking majors in the 1980s. It has been hailed by many commentators as providing financial literacy to hundreds of Aboriginal people, not to mention giving credit—Grameen Bank style—to people denied access to the mainstream banking system. It provides personal as well as small business loans

Forget the interest rate hike, the TCU faces hundreds of its customers being thrown out of work, and facing drastic income loss through Brough’s “work to welfare” savaging of CDEP. It is difficult to imagine what it will do to the TCU. From a system that has lower default rates than banking giants such as Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank, it may face a surge in busted loans.

The civil division of the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) might have to bone up on bankruptcy law for their clients.

The TCU? Perhaps their only solution is to go for a “just terms” compensation claim against the Commonwealth. You’d like to think a financial institution whose client base has been deliberately thrown out of work by Canberra would be given a bit of a break.