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100 Rural Transaction Centres deliver services to regions.



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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon De-Anne Kelly MP Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services

19 December 2003 DK04/2003

100 RURAL TRANSACTION CENTRES DELIVER SERVICES TO REGIONS

Waratah will have improved access to banking and other essential services with the opening today of its Rural Transaction Centre (RTC) marking the 100th Centre to become operational.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Mrs De-Anne ?Kelly announced today that the 100 milestone had been reached in the Rural Transaction Centres (RTC) Programme.

"I congratulate all 100 communities from the very first RTC opened in Eugowra NSW to the latest at Waratah in Tasmania for their initiative and enterprise in working with the Australian Government, councils and local businesses to get their RTC established in town," Mrs Kelly said.

Karen Gerdes, Officer in Charge of the Eugowra Rural Transaction Centre, said the Centre has been a valuable asset to their town since it was the first opened in October 1999 with townspeople particularly grateful to have banking services available again through the Reliance Credit Union.

Speaking at the Waratah opening today, Richard Muir-Wilson, Community Development Officer, Waratah-Wynyard Council, also praised the Australian Government initiative and all involved, saying the RTC had been a focal point in giving residents hope for the future of their town.

"For instance local businesses now have banking access with the new EPOS facilities. This means that money stays in town. We are also confident that we will be able to maintain our population base by consolidating services people need in our RTC such as Medicare easyclaim, Computer Centre and visiting professional rooms with existing council services," Mr Muir-Wilson said.

Mrs Kelly said that these were not isolated responses.

"Many towns with operating RTCs are reporting increased optimism. The Australian Government is committed not only to restoring services to small communities, but in many cases, providing access to services they have never had," Mrs Kelly said.

"100 RTCs are now operational, however there is more to be done to extend the benefits of the RTC Programme to even more communities and there are 178 RTCs approved to date for operation across Australia.

"The RTC Programme is now integrated into the new Regional Partnerships programme and access to services will continue to be a priority for our regional programmes," she said.

Information on the Regional Partnerships programme can be obtained by phoning the Commonwealth Regional Information Service on freecall 1800 026 222.

Media Contacts

Matthew Magin ( Mrs Kelly’s office ) 02 6277 4758 / 0408 478 654