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Labor's banking policy & ANZ Bank Mt Druitt closure.

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ROGER PRICE MP Federal Member for Chifley


Federal Member for Chifley Roger Price MP said today, that Labor’s Banking Policy could help prevent bank closures in local communities, such as the recent closure of the Mt Druitt Branch of the ANZ Bank.

“Under Labor’s policy, banks would have to consult the local community before taking any final decision”, Mr Price said.

“A notice period of 6 months would also be required for each branch closure, to allow communities to find alternatives”, he said.

Such a requirement would go further than the recent review of the Banking Code of Conduct endorsed by the Government in that it would cover the whole of Australia, not just rural and regional areas.

“The Commonwealth Bank’s massive profit of $2.2 billion shows that it is now time for the banks to sign up to a social charter”, Mr Price said.

Bank profits have come from branch closures, increased fees and increased bank queues. It is time that banks shared some of their profits with their customers by ensuring that affordable banking services are available to all Australians, including the people of Western Sydney.

Labor believes that banking is an essential service. We will ensure that affordable banking services are available to all Australians, no matter where they live and no matter what they earn.

We will do this by seeking to negotiate a social charter with the banks. If the banks refuse to negotiate a social charter, then Labor will legislate.

Labor’s Social Charter will require that banks:

• Offer fee free banking for social security recipients • Offer no frills bank account to all Australians

• Provide details of ATM fees at the time of transaction

• Include the publication of readily comparable interest rates across lending products • Provide detailed fee information on bank statements • Ensure there is greater accessibility of affordable deposit-taking services for small businesses

• Restore banking services to communities which have lost them • Give local communities six months notice of branch closures.

For five years Prime Minister John Howard has allowed the banks to rip the guts out of banking services in this country. While bank fees continue to rise for the poorest in our society, John Howard has condescendingly told consumers that they should ‘shop around’.

Howard will not tackle the banks - Labor will.

Ends 28 August 2001

Contact: Paul Sekhon on 6277 4872 or 0409 905 445.