A Regional Banking Taskforce has been established to assess the impact of bank branch closures on regional communities.
The Taskforce will bring together banks and other key stakeholders to assess how branch closures have impacted local businesses, industries, and communities, while working to identify possible solutions.
Nationals Minister for Regionalisation Bridget McKenzie said the taskforce will provide a platform to establish how the transformation within the banking industry, particularly branch closures, has affected those living in the regions.
“Having access to bank branches is vital for every community, particularly for residents who are unable to use online services to conduct their banking.
“As we have heard, bank branch closures in the regions also affect the liveability of towns, and so I am pleased to announce this taskforce will be looking at how we can keep banking services in rural Australia,” Senator McKenzie said.
Nationals Senator for NSW Perin Davey said the establishment of the Taskforce represented a significant milestone, as it brought the opportunity not only to examine issues but to find solutions.
“A taskforce is an important step forward because it will allow us to draw on the knowledge of the banks and businesses to find workable solutions to this issue,” she said.
“Banks and financial service providers have communicated to me a desire to find ways to service regional communities, and I look forward to exploring those constructive avenues through this taskforce.”
The Co-Chairs of the Taskforce are Senator Davey and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar.
Members include senior representatives from:
- Banks – ANZ; Commonwealth Bank of Australia; National Australia Bank; Westpac; Bendigo and Adelaide Bank; Bank of Queensland;
- Peak bodies – the Australian Banking Association, the Customer Owned Banking Association; the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia; the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry;
- Australia Post; and
- The Australian Local Government Association.
The Taskforce will hold its first meeting in early November and will release an issues paper for public consultation.
The Regional Banking Taskforce and the Government’s support for rural and regional communities is part of our economic plan to support the recovery and keep Australians together.