Home NewsAustralia Outback Queenslanders take on big bank as branch closure sparks outrage, fears more services will leave

Outback Queenslanders take on big bank as branch closure sparks outrage, fears more services will leave

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Outback Queenslanders take on big bank as branch closure sparks outrage, fears more services will leave

Neighborhood leaders and residents in north-west Queensland have been left outraged after Westpac introduced it was closing its Cloncurry financial institution department. 

Final Friday, Westpac knowledgeable the Cloncurry Shire Council through e-mail that its department, which opened in 1905, can be closing on Could 19.

It means there can be only one financial institution department left in Cloncurry, the Nationwide Australia Financial institution, to service a city of almost 4,000 individuals.

The Cloncurry Shire Council has launched a petition to dam the department closure and is ready to carry talks with a authorities relations consultant.

Cloncurry Shire Mayor Greg Campbell mentioned the closure was “an act of full disrespect” to rural mining and farming communities like Cloncurry that have been rising in inhabitants and contributed billions of {dollars} to the Queensland financial system.

“Our biggest worry is that this determination will give different important providers the precedent to withdraw extra providers from Cloncurry and regional Queensland,” he mentioned.

Branches ‘important’ to survival of outback cities

closing down sign on business
Westpac cited low foot visitors as the explanation of the closure of its Cloncurry department. (Equipped: Cloncurry Shire Council)

Many rural cities depend on the yearly vacationer season to maintain their economies.

Janessa Bidgood is the president of the Cloncurry Merry Muster rodeo pageant, which attracts 1000’s of tourists to the small city annually.

With no bricks-and-mortar financial institution department, working occasions turned tough, she mentioned.

“It’s critical for us to have a bodily department based mostly within the city,” Ms Bridgewood mentioned.

“We will not function our occasion with out money. And if there isn’t any financial institution right here, I do not know the place we might go for all these assets we have to run an occasion.

“I assume somebody must journey the 300 kilometre round-trip to Mount Isa to do our banking and entry our floats and money.”

An outback setting
Nestled among the many outback, 780kms from the coast, Cloncurry’s inhabitants is rising however it struggles to draw staff.(Equipped: Cloncurry Shire Council)

Lengthy-term native and well-known grazier Sam Daniels has been utilizing Westpac in Cloncurry for 60 years.

“It is no small amount of cash coming by Westpac in Cloncurry, they might be coping with clientele from the grazing properties that make up over 20 million acres of nation within the north-west right here,” he mentioned.

“And it isn’t simply that, it is all of the neighborhood teams that financial institution, there’s all of the sports activities golf equipment, the rodeos, the festivals, all of the people who volunteer to run these occasions lean on Westpac to get floats and have the ability to financial institution some substantial amount of cash by the week … we will lose all that.”

Mr Campbell known as on the federal government to behave.

“It must be a part of a financial institution’s social obligation to have a presence in rural Queensland.

“There’s common service obligations for telecommunications, infrastructure, put up, why does the banking trade select to stroll away?”

Farmers leading a herd of cattle through an outback setting
Cloncurry is a mining and agriculture hub.(Equipped: Cloncurry Shire Council)

Foot visitors blamed for closure

Westpac has cited low foot visitors as one of many essential causes for shutting its doorways.

Mr Campbell mentioned the financial institution may do extra to remain in the neighborhood.

“That simply does not lower it,” he mentioned.

A Westpac bank store front
The Cloncurry department will shut in Could.(Equipped: Cloncurry SHire Council)

“The department itself is as financially robust as ever, if not stronger. Sure, banking strategies have moved towards the web house however that’s as a result of Westpac has been pushing that.

“As an alternative of strolling away, do a greater job for the neighborhood.”

In a press release to the ABC, a Westpac spokesperson mentioned the financial institution was investing in its digital providers.

“There have by no means been extra methods to financial institution with the Westpac Group, and clients can count on the identical nice service by phone, on-line, cell, and digital banking.”

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