The number of banks closed in regional Australia in the six weeks since the Albanese Government quietly released the Coalition’s Regional Banking Taskforce final report is comparable to a dam opening its spillways. The blame for the acceleration – at least 71 branches across all states and territories – can be laid squarely at the feet of the two opposition MPs who led the inquiry, Michael Sukker and Perin Davey, and Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones, who released the report.
After Katy Brown notched up her fourth broken bone at the tender age of 10, her mum decided that if she couldn’t buy her daughter a safe pony she had better breed one ... it was the choice of the Highland that set in motion an association that would become a life’s work for the young animal lover – saving livestock breeds facing extinction.
Australia's banking regulator has been significantly over-stating regional branch numbers for decades due to false reporting by banking institutions. The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) became aware of the errors in May 2021 and has been quietly correcting the hundreds of instances where banks have claimed they are providing full branch services – including the face-to-face provision of cash – but have not been.
Australia's banking regulator is picking and choosing which banks it is allowing to get away with breaking the law by misreporting whether their sites offer cash service provided by a teller. Errors in hundreds of minor and foreign bank sites included in the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s points of presence data for years, even decades, have been corrected over the past 17 months after being exposed by The Regional in May 2021.
The release of the Australian banking regulator’s annual points of presence data this week will be an integrity test for both its chairman Wayne Byres and Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers. The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and Treasury are both in possession of a list of 149 bank sites that do not meet the legal definition of a branch under federal legislation. Most of them have been falsely listed in government data by their Australian and foreign owners for years.
A NSW parliamentary inquiry into the granting of a contract to resurface two arenas at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre has found the tender process managed by the Office of Sport was flawed and that “robust probity standards” were not applied.
Regional Australians found themselves as the butt of a nasty joke at weekend, with both the new Federal Government and the Opposition treating them like idiots over the critical issue of bank closures. In the ultimate dodgy trick, the final report in to the Taskforce into Regional Banking was snuck out at 4.52pm on Friday evening before a long weekend by the Albanese Government despite the report being a Coalition document overseen by two shadow ministers (Michael Sukkar and Perin Davey) whose current portfolios have nothing to do with treasury, finance, business or regional Australia.
The Victorian Government has been accused of “side-stepping the consultation process” over proposed changes to animals welfare laws that could see licences brought in for horse events and any commercial horse activity. Animal Care Australia (ACA) horses and livestock representative Karri Nadazdy said as a major stakeholder, ACA responded to the Animal Welfare Act Reform Directions Paper in December 2020 and said no warning was given that licensing was under consideration.
Licences for any professional horse activity and events in Victoria could be brought in under proposed new animal welfare laws. The proposal has been outlined in a plan developed as part of the reform process for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and states that anyone “showing and exhibiting animals for a commercial purpose” would be subject to new regulations, including that a “licence is required”.
Regional Australians angry over continued bank closures have a chance to have their voice heard in federal parliament. The Regional’s Australian parliamentary petition calling for an immediate moratorium on closures and a new banking inquiry has been approved and can be signed online until 12.29am on October 6. It comes as the number of regional ‘big four’ banks looks set to slip below 1000 by the end of the year, a reduction of nearly two thirds of their network since 1975.
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