March 8 2023
A Greens motion condemning the closure of regional banks has passed the state Upper House unanimously this afternoon.
The move comes after Westpac closed its Coober Pedy branch last month, forcing residents to drive hundreds of kilometres to either Port Augusta or interstate to Alice Springs to access banking services. Yesterday, the Reserve Bank increased interest rates in a tenth consecutive rise.
“At a time when banks are making enormous profits off the back of soaring interest rates, it’s a slap in the face to South Australians doing it tough to see regional bank closures and a denial of this basic community service”, said Greens Treasury Spokesperson Robert Simms MLC.
“This motion calls on the Malinauskas Government to take the banks to task and fight to keep branches open in the regions. Today’s resolution sends a strong message to the banking sector that their disrespect for regional communities won’t be tolerated.”
Since 2015, at least 20 regional towns have been left without a bank branch, including Burra, Kapunda, Mannum, Maitland, Peterborough, Roxby Downs, Tailem Bend, and Willunga.
That this council—
- Notes with concern that:
(a) Westpac has decided to close their branch in Coober Pedy, leaving the community without a bank; and
(b) Many regional towns have been left without a bank branch;
- Recognises the adverse impact of the closure of banks on regional communities and in particular the impediment it places on community and business activity.
- Condemns the closure of bank branches in the regions and calls on Westpac to reconsider its decision to close its branch in Coober Pedy.
- Calls on the Malinauskas government to formally raise the matter with Westpac and advocate for the retention of bank branches in the regions.