| January 07, 2022

City-centric banking decision another blow to rural communities

The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy is demanding the Andrews Labor Government reverse its mandate to remove State Government banking from local communities.

A new purchasing contract means all state-owned organisations such as schools, hospitals and water boards must close accounts with local banks and transfer their money into one of three big banks – the Commonwealth, Westpac or NAB.

Ms Kealy said this would come at the expense of local banking, specifically Bendigo Community Bank branches, which put so much back into local communities in western Victoria.

“There are a number of community banks across Lowan which provide vital support for many local projects that will be significantly impacted by Labor’s decision,” Ms Kealy said.

“Many of our local schools and hospitals have large accounts with their local community bank.

“This decision comes at a time we are seeing the big banks close branches in many of our towns and this directive from the Andrew’s Labor Government is yet another centralized, city-centric decision.

 “If Daniel Andrews, Premier for Melbourne, had any idea how rural and regional communities work he would not be making this decision to move local money out of town.

“Local banking is good for country communities, providing a vital service and supporting secure local jobs.

“Daniel Andrews needs to come clean and explain to Lowan residents why their local schools and hospitals are being forced to move money out of our local towns, putting our local banks at risk.”

Ms Kealy said the decision was yet another reason why Lowan residents should take the opportunity to have their say through the Federal Government’s Regional Banking Taskforce, which has been established to assess the impact of bank closures on regional communities and to ensure appropriate banking services remain available to our regional communities.

More information about the Taskforce is available by contacting the office of Dr Anne Webster, Federal Member for Mallee on (03) 5021 5987 or email [email protected]; or at www.treasury.gov.au/review/regional-banking-taskforce.

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