The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy is encouraging Lowan residents to make a submission to the Federal Government’s Regional Banking Taskforce.
The Federal Government has established the taskforce to assess the impact of bank closures on regional communities.
The Taskforce will bring together banks and other key stakeholders, who will hold a number of regional round tables to assess how bank branch closures have impacted local businesses, industries and communities and work collaboratively to identify possible solutions.
“I am regularly contacted by people who are deeply concerned and upset by bank closures in our regional towns,” Ms Kealy said.
“Local people need local banking options. Banks are a vital service that support local jobs and encourage people to keep their money in their town. If these services disappear, people are forced to take their business elsewhere, and sometimes this means taking it outside their town altogether,” she said.
Bank closures in the Wimmera and Western District over recent years include Balmoral, Casterton, Dimboola, Edenhope, Goroke, Jeparit, Hamilton, Harrow, Kaniva and Rainbow.
Ms Kealy said that even though banks advise customers that they will still have access to the services they needed – either at other branches or online – they were overlooking the fact that many rural and regional areas lack reliable digital connectivity, meaning that even if residents wanted to, they sometimes cannot bank electronically.
“People in metropolitan areas can stream or download movies and music as fast as they like, while people in rural areas can struggle to even send an email or make a call on a mobile phone.
“It is vital that organisations providing vital services like banking understand this, and take steps to make accessing these services easier, not harder.
“I congratulate The Nationals on establishing this important taskforce to ensure this critical issue is addressed and appropriate banking services remain available to our regional communities.”
More information about the Taskforce is available at www.treasury.gov.au/review/regional-banking-taskforce.
Submissions are invited by email to email@example.com or by mail to: Secretariat, Regional Banking Taskforce, Financial System Division, The Treasury, Langton Crescent, Parkes ACT 2600.
The consultation process is now open with submissions closing on 15 December, 2021.