Chris Oldfield, Naracoorte Community News
There won’t be any banks in Naracoorte or anywhere else in 10 years’ time – not in the country or the city, according to Opposition Leader David Speirs.
Mr Speirs said there won’t be any cash in 10 years time either.
He also suggested a Minister for Regional Population Growth to help grow the size of towns in country areas.
Mr Speirs made the comments in response to questions raised by Naracoorte’s Robert Bull during a recent Shadow Cabinet forum.
Mr Bull praised some Shadow Cabinet ideas to help “grow” rural and regional communities and said “they might work”.
“But here in Naracoorte the banks are leaving,” Mr Bull said.
“Naracoorte’s (population) is 6000. Naracoorte is the hub for a whole region (Mid and Upper SE).
“Of the banks that are left here, they are only open from 9am to 1pm.
“For our business (Bull Bros) it’s not so bad because a lot of it is online now. But I’m involved with a lot of other organisations.
“I’ve been the treasurer of a sporting club for 10 years. The sporting club at (Kybybolite) banks with the ANZ.”
Mr Bull said some of the transactions could be done online, but the sporting club dealt with a lot of cash.
From gate takings and money for the Budget newsletter to lollies, cakes, hot dogs and barbecues manned by parents and club members who were all volunteers, people paid cash.
“People want to still pay with cash,” Mr Bull said.
“So that throws up massive challenges for us trying to get floats for Saturday games and then banking (the) cash.”
In addition to cash and banking without banks being open, Mr Bull raised the poor state of the region’s roads.
“You’ve been driving around so you’ve seen our roads,” he said.
“The place has been neglected for 15 years so the roads are crumbling, there hasn’t been any maintenance done on them.”
Mr Bull then turned to the health system.
“Whilst we’ve tried to reverse a lot of neglect, everything’s been focussed toward Adelaide.
“And even in Adelaide, (hospitals) were shut down. I recognise the work that the Liberals did while they were in power to reopen (some hospitals).”
Mr Bull explained it was great to say we could “grow the regions”, but basic infrastructure and services were required for people, businesses and industries already here.
“We’ve got Teys out there that need employees and we’ve got JBS in Bordertown too – and housing shortages,” Mr Bull said.
Despite the growth “we are up against it with everything else going the other way – the infrastructure is crumbling.”
Mr Bull asked what could be done to reverse the trend of fixing the health system, roads and reversing the loss of services, and suggested it was “a massive task”.
Mr Speirs said he would refer Mr Bull’s concerns to other shadow ministers. A lot of issues came down to “the chicken or the egg”, but he could “deal with the banks right away”.
“There won’t be any banks in Naracoorte or anywhere else in 10 years’ time. There are no banks in my electorate,” Mr Speirs said.
He explained the electorate of Black took in a big slab of Adelaide’s southern suburbs “which tends not to vote Liberal, but votes for me south of Adelaide”.
“I’ve got no banks. They’ve all closed down. There won’t be any cash in 10 years’ time either. I’m dead serious about that,” Mr Speirs said.
“So, let’s not allow our progress to be held back by that.”
Holding up a plastic bank card Mr Speirs said “everything will be on these things and those little white squares and you tap and if you don’t evolve, you’ll die. I mean that with the greatest of respect.”
This article appeared in the Naracoorte Community News.