Community facilities | May 08, 2019

The end of large community bank donations

More Lowan residents have contacted the Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy concerned at the impact on their local community of the Labor Government’s mandate to remove State Government banking from local banks.

Labor recently announced that all state-owned organisations such as schools and hospitals must close accounts with local banks and transfer their money into centralised Government accounts in Sydney-based Westpac Bank.

Ms Kealy has written to the Premier and raised the issue in Parliament in a question to the Treasurer, demanding Labor reverse this decision so that community banks can continue their valuable work in supporting their local communities.

The directive seriously undermines the highly successful community banking model which allocates a share of local branch profits to support local projects which would otherwise be unfunded.

“The response I received from the Treasurer saying that the decision will benefit all Victorians shows a complete lack of understanding of the community banking model,” Ms Kealy said.

“Labor taking these term deposits and larger interest bearing accounts away from country banks will almost certainly mean more bank closures in our rural communities and less money available to community groups and organisations through community banking donations.

“The directive has already hit many of our local community banks hard, with over $8 million expected to be withdrawn from the Coleraine & District Community Bank by the end of this month.

“This bank alone has distributed approximately $700,000 to their local area over recent years and this reduction in investment will translate to a direct drop in funds available to support community projects of approximately $50,000 per year.

“The Willaura Lake Bolac Community Bank has also contributed approximately $250,000 to local projects over the last 10 years and is expecting to be hit hard with just under $5 million anticipated to be withdrawn.

“This directive by Daniel Andrews will mean our local community banks will be unable to continue to provide the current level of funding to the community facilities and projects that that they currently support them, something our rural communities rely on.

“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 explain why he is forcing their local schools and hospitals to move money out of our local towns, putting our local banks and community driven projects at risk.”

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