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Reserve Bank leads charge on bank closures: (five out of seven gone)



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Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration

Review of the Reserve Bank of Australia annual report 1999 - 2000

Media release: 5 September 2000 RESERVE BANK LEADS CHARGE ON BRANCH CLOSURES -(FIVE OUT OF SEVEN GONE)

By the end of this year the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will have closed all of its branches except Adelaide and Canberra and admits that '…this would run the risk of putting us out of touch with regional issues at a time when they are becoming more important…'

Chairman of the House Economics Committee David Hawker MP said 'I have warned for some time that the RBA must not be out of touch with the rest of Australia. At last we have the Governor putting his cards on the table. He admits that if the Reserve Bank doesn't move quickly to fill the gap as a result of closing 5 out of 7 State branches, it runs the risk of being out of touch with regional matters.'

This is revealed by the Reserve Bank's annual report 2000 released in Parliament today. That report largely focuses on matters other than monetary policy, which is reported in other RBA publications.

'The House Economics Committee's next public hearing with the Governor, which is to be held in the regional city of Wagga Wagga, obviously is very timely. It will be very helpful to the Governor and his senior staff in exposing them to regional issues. It is questionable though that other

avenues that the Governor regards as keeping the Bank in touch, such as strengthening the Bank's capacity to monitor local conditions and improving communication with States and regions, are sufficient to allay fears of a Bank out of touch with regional Australia.'

Mr Hawker said 'Other matters highlighted in the report include:

the dramatic reduction in the Bank's staffing over the past 17 years -some 75%; ●

the Bank's tardiness in completing and releasing its joint study with the ACCC on interchange fees and access criteria in the debit and credit card markets;

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the Bank's failure to compete against the private sector to retain public sector banking business; ●

acknowledgement of the Bank's indirect as well as direct intervention in the foreign exchange market; ●

the RBA 's strong representation on various new international groupings that will be 'writing the future rules' of international markets; and

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the Bank's impressive achievements in the note printing area whereby the RBA is exporting polymer notes to an expanding list of countries. ●

'Despite several areas of concern, I am pleased with the openness of Reserve Bank's current annual report, 'said Mr Hawker. ' The House Economics Committee obviously will question the Bank on these critical issues as well as monetary policy at the committee's public hearing to be held in Wagga Wagga on Friday 1 December 2000.'

Further information: David Hawker MP (Chairman) 02 6277 4100 Bev Forbes 02 6277 4587 Email: EFPA.Reps@aph.gov.au

Committee Membership 39th Parliament

Chairman: Mr David Hawker MP Deputy Chair: Ms A Burke MP Members: Mr Anthony Albanese MP Ms Teresa Gambaro MP Mrs Kay Hull MP Mr Mark Latham MP Ms Tanya Plibersek MP Mr Christopher Pyne MP Hon Alex Somlyay MP Dr Andrew Southcott MP

Comments to: Committee Secretary on PH: 02 6277 4587 or FAX: 02 6277 4774 or e-mail: EFPA.Reps@aph.gov.au Last reviewed 5 September 2000 by the Committee Secretariat © Commonwealth of Australia Parliament of Australia Web Site Privacy Statement