Wilson deposits bank closures submission

Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson MP has lodged a submission to the Senate inquiry into bank closures in regional Australia that relays concerns felt by a diverse range of constituents across his 1.1 million square kilometre electorate.

“The inquiry has received more than 580 submissions, including from community groups representing people from across my electorate, as well as specific submissions from WA’s Southwest and Wheatbelt regions,” Mr Wilson said.

“One point that’s come out loud and clear is the need for banks to genuinely consult with regional and remote communities, to engage with them seriously, before deciding to close a branch.

“To that end, my submission recommends that banks provide to communities a comprehensive impact statement of the likely economic, social and cultural effects of any proposed closure, outline efforts they’ve gone to in order to retain the branch, and assess the feasibility of options presented by community members in relation to retaining the branch.”

Mr Wilson said that, in country towns, banks were local institutions, and meant much more than just a commercial service.

“Once a bank goes, a whole range of businesses suffer, bank staff who are often community leaders depart, and the insidious effects of depopulation tend to accelerate,” he said.

“In order to keep banks more viable in regional areas, my submission recommends that the federal government prioritise programs that encourage infrastructure and other investment in smaller regional towns.

“And, in an era where teleconferencing is now common-place, I’ve recommended that state governments prioritise the decentralisation of government departments from over-populated metropolitan areas to regional areas where populations are declining.”

 Mr Wilson noted that one hearing of the inquiry was held in his electorate, in the Wheatbelt town of Beverley.

“At Beverley, evidence was heard from the Beverley Country Women’s Association, Beverley Post & Gifts, Beverley Agricultural Society, the shires of Beverley, Brookton, Quairading and Wyalkatchem, the Rural, Regional, Remote Women’s Network of Western Australia, and the North Eastern Wheatbelt Regional Organisation of Councils, among other interested parties,” he said.

“Given that the Beverley hearing was jam-packed, my submission invites the inquiry to hold a second hearing elsewhere in O’Connor, which spans WA’s Peel, Southwest, Wheatbelt, Great Southern and Goldfields-Esperance regions.”

Other recommendations Mr Wilson has made to the inquiry include, where a town does not have a bank, or is about to lose one, that: 

  • Australia Post work to standardise deposit and withdrawal limits from its branches;
  • serious consideration be given to retaining ATMs that are in good working order and regularly maintained to deliver a ready supply of cash to residents; and
  • banking systems be improved so as not to require physical travel in order to have customers’ identification confirmed.

Public input to the inquiry closed on February 29. Mr Wilson’s submission is attached.

 

Media contact: Chris Thomson – (08) 9842 2777; [email protected]

  

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Mr Wilson's submission has been published at: https://www.aph.gov.au/DocumentStore.ashx?id=37615f2f-75f7-4db2-9ef5-2903c40f0fd1&subId=753038

Other submissions to the inquiry have been published at https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Rural_and_Regional_Affairs_and_Transport/BankClosures/Submissions

Submissions from Mr Wilson’s O’Connor electorate include:

  • Number 91 from the Bridgetown branch of the Country Women’s Association of WA;
  • Number 314 from Beverley Post News & Gifts;
  • Number 323 from Regional Development Australia Wheatbelt;
  • Number 405 from Shire of Wagin CEO Ian McCabe; and
  • Number 480 from Councillor Gary Shadbolt, President of the North Eastern Wheatbelt Regional Organisation of Councils.

A transcript of the inquiry’s hearing in Beverley has been published at: https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query%3DId%3A%22committees%2Fcommsen%2F27227%2F0000%22

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