THE Federal Government is seeking to maintain banking services where bank branches have closed in the regions through the Regional Banking Taskforce.

Regional Banking Taskforce co-chairs – the Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Housing and Minister for Homelessness Social and Community Housing Michael Sukkar and Senator Perin Davey, have announced the start of public consultation by the Taskforce.

Member for Mallee Anne Webster said that the taskforce was a warmly welcomed initiative of the Federal Government in Mallee.

“I’ve had many of my constituents express their frustration and disappointment of the local bank branch closures in their towns,” she said.

“These closures, and in some cases reduced hours, are incredibly frustrating for locals, particularly those who are unable to use online services to conduct their banking.

“The Taskforce will bring together banks and other key stakeholders, who will hold a number of regional round tables to assess how bank branch closures have impacted local businesses, industries and communities and work collaboratively to identify possible solutions.

“This is a pragmatic and outcomes driven taskforce that will explore constructive avenues to provide an essential service to our communities.”

Australians can contribute their insights into regional bank branch closures by making submissions to the Taskforce over the coming weeks and are encouraged to do so.

Insights from the submissions will help the Taskforce better understand the impacts of branch closures and how Australians are accessing banking services.

They will also help improve banking services and accessibility where branches have closed.

These submissions will build on the discussions held between senior representatives of banks and other key stakeholders at the Taskforce’s first meeting on November 9 in Sydney.

The Taskforce will continue exploring potential solutions for maintaining and improving banking services and accessibility with meetings on December 8 in Orange and January 19 in Mildura.

More information about the Taskforce is available at www.treasury.gov.au/review/regional-banking-taskforce.

Submissions are invited by email to regionalbanking@treasury.gov.au or by mail to: Secretariat, Regional Banking Taskforce, Financial System Division, The Treasury, Langton Crescent, Parkes ACT 2600.

The consultation process will open for four weeks with submissions closing on December 15, 2021.

The Regional Banking Taskforce and the Federal Government’s ongoing support for rural and regional communities is part of an economic plan to support the recovery and keep Australians together.