Gippsland South The Nationals Community Banking Local Banking

O’Brien calls for local banking to stay local

Gippsland communities will miss out under an Andrews Labor Government plan to force Victoria’s schools and hospitals to send their banking across the border to NSW.

Labor’s ‘centralised banking’ plan will force state-owned organisations to close accounts with their local banks and transfer money into the Government’s Sydney-based Westpac accounts.

The Nationals member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said the Andrews Labor Government’s plan was half-baked and didn’t consider the flow-on impact on our regional communities.

“Daniel Andrews is demanding that these funds be pulled from our local community banks that support local jobs and investment, to put into his Sydney bank account,” Mr O’Brien said.

“I have already spoken to one school in Gippsland South that is concerned about this plan given their accounts are currently with a community bank which has also been generous over the years with grants.

 “Only this city-centric Labor Government would ignore the impacts of taking investment out of regional communities.

“Daniel Andrews likes to claim he’s ‘putting people first’, but putting all our state’s government banking through Sydney just isn’t common sense.”

Community banks invest tens of millions of dollars into local communities, with country Victoria-based Bendigo Bank alone contributing almost $114 million to Victorian communities since 1997.

“In celebrating it’s 20 birthday recently, it was revealed the Toora and District Community Bank has returned in excess of $1.1 million to the South Gippsland community,” Mr O’Brien said.

Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Peter Walsh said taking money out of country communities was taking away opportunities to put money back into local sporting clubs and community organisations, for instance through programs run by Bendigo Bank.

“Local banking is good for country communities, providing investment and supporting good, secure, local jobs,” Mr Walsh said.

“Daniel Andrews must reverse his decision and make sure our sporting clubs and community groups don’t miss out on much needed opportunities to fund local projects and programs.”

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