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Banking services in regional Australia.



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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

 

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 62774587

Fax: (02) 6277 4774

E-mail: FIPA.Reps@aph.gov.au

 

 

MEDIA NEWS

 

BANKING SERVICES IN REGIONAL AUSTRALIA

 

The National Australia Bank and Australia Post will be in the spotlight at a public hearing in Melbourne on Wednesday.

 

The Chairman of the influential Financial Institutions Committee, Mr David Hawker, described this as the continuation of a process that aims to ensure that Australians in regional and remote Australia, and wherever else banks are closing down, have access to those financial services which are essential features of modern living.

 

Mr Hawker said, “The Committee has been successful in raising the profile of this important issue and over the course of its inquiries has gained valuable insights into the situation in the bush.”

 

“In talking with the National Australia Bank, the first of the major banks to appear before the Committee, we want to identify how financial services will be delivered in the future and whether they will meet the needs of people in regional Australia, where rationalisation of the traditional bank branch network is having the most severe effect. The NAB has raised a number of possibilities such as having financial institutions share facilities or the appointment of an agent to represent all the major banks in each community. We are interested in exploring these proposals with the NAB.”

 

“Australia Post, with 4000 outlets, is another important provider of services with a strong presence in the bush. We are interested in exploring a number of issues such as the expansion of the giroPost network and the possibility of Australia Post establishing itself as an Internet Service Provider, which is a very interesting development with the potential to greatly benefit rural customers.”

 

“Although there have been a number of positive developments, such as moves by regional banks to establish franchise and community banking, it is important to know what big institutions such as NAB and Australia Post have planned and what they are prepared to offer as alternatives. The more alternatives that are available the better, as this will provide people in rural and remote areas with as much choice as possible.”

 

Mr Hawker added, “I want to stress that this inquiry is not a ‘get the banks’ exercise, we want to see what banks are prepared to offer as an alternative when closing a branch and we also want to see what other service providers might be prepared to do for regional Australia. The hearings will continue in Launceston on Thursday where we will be speaking with the Post Office Agents Association, the Trust Bank and various community and business groups.”

 

Release ends

21 April 1998

Further information: David Hawker MP (Chairman) 02 - 6277 4837

Christopher Paterson (Secretary) 02 - 6277 4587

e-mail: FIPA.Reps@aph.gov.au

 

Details of Program and Committee membership attached

 

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