Member for Barker Tony Pasin MP has welcomed CBA and Westpac Banks’ decisions to halt regional bank closures while the Federal Parliament’s Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee undertakes an inquiry into regional bank closures.
The Inquiry follows the Coalition Government’s Regional Banking Taskforce, which found farmers, vulnerable people and small business owners struggle when a rural bank closes its doors.
Member for Barker Tony Pasin MP said communities across Barker were being impacted by branch closures.
“In the last six months alone, 92 bank branches either closed or were slated for closure in rural and regional Australia including Bank SA branches in Mannum, Tailem Bend, Kapunda and Kingston SE,” Mr Pasin said.
“Face to face banking services add to the vibrancy of regional towns. The decision to close branches is extremely disappointing not only for customers but for the whole community who feel let down by their decision to pack up and leave town.”
“In a period of record profitability for the Australian banking sector, the decision to withdraw services from regional Australia is not only wrong, its unacceptable.”
“Bank Executives need to think long and hard about their commitment to rural, regional and remote Australians, and I welcome the decision by CBA and Westpac to pause the planned closures while they engage with the Parliamentary inquiry,” said Tony Pasin.
The Committee, Chaired by Coalition Senator Matt Canavan is due to hand down its report by 1 December 2023 in relation to the extent of bank closures in regional Australia including the branch closure process and reasons given, the economic and social impacts of bank closures on customers and regional communities and the effect of bank closures or the removal of face-to-face cash services on access to cash.
It will also look at the effectiveness of government banking statistics capturing and reporting regional service levels and give consideration to solutions.
“The Coalition has taken action on the issue of regional branch closures and this pressure is paying off for communities like Kingston SE, who will see Bank SA remain in the town, at least for the time being,” Mr Pasin said.
“Unfortunately, for communities like Tailem Bend, Mannum, Kapunda and hundreds of others it has come too late. While I don’t wish to pre-empt the Inquiry’s findings or recommendations, I’ll be writing to the big four banks and suggesting they reverse their closure decisions of the last five years,” Mr Pasin said.
Submissions to the inquiry are open until 31 March 2023. Further information, including how to make a submission, can be found on the Rural and Regional Affairs Committee website here: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Rural_and_Regional_Affairs_and_Transport/BankClosures
Media Contact: Charlotte Edmunds 8724 7730