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Thursday, 28 March 1985
Page: 966

Senator RICHARDSON —My question is to the Minister representing the Treasurer and relates to the Treasurer's announcement on 27 February 1985 inviting 16 foreign banks to establish banking operations in Australia. Has this move enhanced the possibility of Australian banks being granted reciprocal access rights in overseas countries? Have any formal concessions or access rights been granted to Australian banks operating overseas as a result of the February decision?

Senator WALSH —I have a note from the Treasurer on this subject. He says that, as he indicated in his statement of 27 February, Japan has already agreed to allow the four major Australian banks to establish branches in Japan. We have been advised by relevant authorities in Canada and Hong Kong that, as a result of our banking policies, reciprocal access will be available to Australian banks in those countries. I am also advised that the Government has under consideration the question of reciprocal access in other relevant countries. Referring again to the Treasurer's 27 February statement, the 16 successful applicants were selected having regard to a range of factors, including the need to secure an appropriate regional distribution and reciprocity considerations. The results of the reciprocity considerations have already borne fruit in that agreement to issue licences in Japan for the four major Australian banks has already been received.