The Parliament of Australia’s Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport’s inquiry into ‘Bank closures in regional Australia’ is open for public submissions.
The committee will examine the current extent of bank closures in regional Australia and the impacts this has on regional communities.
The Nationals Member for Euroa, Annabelle Cleeland, is encouraging locals to make a public submission given a recent spate of branch closures and service reductions.
“We have seen several closures across our region of late with locals understandably angry about the reduction in face-to-face services,” Ms Cleeland said.
“Bendigo Bank is shutting their agency services in both Stanhope and Euroa, while Seymour ANZ will not re-open after the October floods.
“Some of the most vulnerable members of our community rely on their services and their departure from our regional communities will leave a gaping hole in financial services.”
The inquiry includes reference to the economic and welfare impacts of bank closures on customers and regional communities.
“So many people across our region aren’t set up for online banking for a range of reasons and branch closures have a massive impact on these people,” Ms Cleeland said.
“Our elderly often rely on cash to pay bills and are left in a difficult position if services are reduced, particularly in smaller regional towns.
“While our banking system is modernising it remains crucial regional Victorians are not left behind in this transition.”
The inquiry will also investigate solutions to bank closures in regional Australia.
“While it is all well and good bemoaning the closures of branches across regional areas what we really need is solutions,” Ms Cleeland said.
“I’m hopeful this committee will report with some strong recommendations and a pathway to protecting and balancing regional service with a modern financial system.”
To begin the submission process go to https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/OnlineSubmission. Submissions close on April 28 with the final report due in December this year and must relate to the closure of branches not agencies.