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Community banks

The Andrews Labor Government’s centralised purchasing policy will leave local community banks out in the cold in favour of the big four which have deserted rural and regional communities, Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell says.

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In Parliament this week, Ms Britnell called on the Government to make changes to the policy so that organisations could maintain accounts with their local community bank branches.

“In places like Port Fairy and Heywood, state-government based agencies like the hospital and schools will have to move their accounts from the local community bank and instead bank with the Sydney based Westpac,” she said.

Ms Britnell said it was shameful the State Government was taking away some of the largest accounts of these community bank branches which are run by locals and contribute profits back into the local community.

“Over the past 7-years the Port Fairy and District Community Bank has been in operation, it has contributed over $500,000 to over 90 local organisations in the community,” she said.

“The figures in Heywood are almost the same – with groups like the SES, local Schools, surf clubs, footy and netball clubs all benefitting from much needed grants from their local community bank branches.

Ms Britnell said the Government’s purchasing contract once again shows the city centric, centralised nature of how Labor operates.

“Instead of supporting local organisations that give back to local groups and organisations, the Government is rewarding the big four banks, who have done nothing but abandon rural and regional towns across the state,” she said.

“This policy needs to be reviewed so vital community banks which serve their communities aren’t disadvantaged and I call on the treasurer to do so with a level of urgency.”

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