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Labor's banking policy: where's the money coming from?



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Labor’s banking policy - where’s the money coming from?

Labor promises to improve access to banking and financial services in regional Australia through Australia Post but does not provide one cent of funding to make this happen.

This totally uncosted policy stands in stark contrast to the Coalition which recently announced that it would spend nearly $4 million, through the Rural Transaction Centre program, to enable Australia Post to roll out EPOS to 100 licensed post offices in regional Australia.

EPOS provides a wide range of banking and billpaying services to customers.

As with so many of Labor’s policies, its banking policy makes promises without any money to turn them into reality.

Yet again, Labor is demonstrating that it cannot be trusted to responsibly manage the Commonwealth Budget.

Either Labor’s promise to provide access to banking through Australia Post is not worth the paper it is written on or Labor will force Australia Post to provide these services from Post’s own coffers.

If it is the latter, the only way Australia Post can pay to provide these uneconomic services* is by increasing the price of its other services like the standard letter service or reduce its profit, and therefore its annual dividend to the Commonwealth.

Shadow Minister, Stephen Smith, has admitted that Mr Beazley’s postal policy does not include a commitment to keep the postal community service obligation, which ensures that a standard letter can be sent anywhere in Australia at a uniform price.

Is the removal of the standard letter CSO the quid pro quo for Australia Post being forced to pay to provide greater access to banking services in regional Australia?

Whatever way Labor wants it, the fact is that money does not grow on trees and if Labor wants to improve regional banking services as the Coalition is already doing, it should cough up the necessary funding as the Coalition is already doing.

* where it is economic, Australia Post already provides these services

Media Contact: Annabelle Herd, Minister’s Office, 0408 293 458

E/018

17 October 2001