Member for Barker Tony Pasin MP has welcomed the Westpac Banks’ decisions not to proceed with planned branch closures in eight locations in rural and regional Australia including Kingston SE.

The move comes following a previous commitment from CBA and Westpac 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 branch closures were disproportionately felt by rural and regional Australians due to distance between major centres and poor digital communication infrastructure.

“Face to face banking services mean a lot to our regional towns. They are important for the social fabric of a community, it’s sporting and service clubs, school fundraisers, the elderly and those lacking access to the internet.”

“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.”

“I congratulate Westpac on their decision not to proceed with the planned closure at the Bank SA branch in Kingston SE. I hope this is the beginning of a shift in thinking from all four major banks when it comes to their commitment to regional customers,” said Tony Pasin.

The Committee, instigated and Chaired by the Coalition 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.

“The Coalition has taken action on the issue of regional branch closures and this pressure is paying off for communities like Kingston SE. Now, I want to see branches re-opened in communities such as Naracoorte, Bordertown, Kapunda, Millicent, Penola, Renmark, Tailem Bend,” Mr Pasin said.

Media Contact: Charlotte Edmunds 8724 7730