The taskforce will bring together banks and other key stakeholders to assess how bank branch closures have impacted local businesses, industries and communities and work collaboratively to identify possible solutions.
Minister for Regionalisation Bridget McKenzie said the taskforce will provide a platform to establish how the transformation within the banking industry, particularly branch closures, has affected those living in the regions.
“Having access to bank branches is vital for every community, particularly for residents who are unable to use online services to conduct their banking,” Ms McKenzie said.
“As we have heard, bank branch closures in the regions also affect the liveability of towns, and so I am pleased to announce this taskforce will be looking at how we can keep banking services in rural Australia.”
Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar welcomed the formation of the Taskforce to evaluate the impact of bank branch closures in regional Australia.
“The Regional Banking Taskforce will enable the government to work closely with the banks and local communities to assess how these services can best be delivered in our regions,” Mr Sukkar said.
Senator for NSW Perin Davey said that the establishment of the taskforce represented a significant milestone, as it brought the opportunity not only to enquire into issues, but also to bring together stakeholders to find solutions.
“A taskforce is an important step forward because it will allow us to draw on the knowledge of the banks and businesses to find workable solutions to this issue,” she said.
“Banks and financial service providers have communicated to me a desire to find ways to service regional communities, and I look forward to exploring those constructive avenues through this taskforce.”
The co-chairs of the taskforce are Mr Sukkar, reporting to the Treasurer, and Ms Davey, reporting to the Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience and Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education Bridget McKenzie.
Members include senior representatives from:
Banks – ANZ; Commonwealth Bank of Australia; National Australia Bank; Westpac; Bendigo and Adelaide Bank; Bank of Queensland; and
Peak bodies – the Australian Banking Association, the Customer Owned Banking Association; the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia; the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Australia Post; and the Australian Local Government Association.
The taskforce will hold its first meeting in early November and will release an issues paper for public consultation.