18 September 2023

Inquiry sitting gives Junee residents chance to speak up about regional bank branch withdrawals

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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A group of Junee residents holding placards at protest

Junee residents protest against the Commonwealth Bank’s branch closure earlier this year. Photo: Struan Timms Photography.

The Junee community is being urged to come out in force and make its opposition to bank branch withdrawals heard at the Bank Closures in Regional Australia Senate Inquiry.

The inquiry hearing will be on Thursday, 21 September, from 9:45 am to 3 pm at the Junee Ex-Services Memorial Club.

Federal Member for the Riverina, Michael McCormack, said the inquiry was a great opportunity for Junee residents to speak up against bank closures in their community.

“The Junee community, Mayor Neil Smith and I have fought for the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport to hold a sitting of the inquiry into regional banking closures in Junee,” Mr McCormack said.

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“Junee is a community of 6500 and without a local bank, many would have to make a one-hour round trip to Wagga Wagga just to access simple banking services.

“Regional communities such as Junee are often reliant on their local bank branch. Without the branches, businesses, farms and particularly the elderly suffer immense disadvantage compared to their city counterparts.”

Mr McCormack fears the once-thriving regional communities will be decimated with further bank closures.

“How can an elderly person who may not be able to travel or use online banking continue to live in towns such as Junee once their banks close?” he asked.

“I don’t want to see people who have lived in these towns their entire lives being forced to move to larger population centres just to access basic services which they once had.”

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Mr McCormack has urged the Commonwealth Bank to keep its Junee branch open after the inquiry ends.

The CBA has promised that its regional branches will continue to operate for at least the next three years.

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